Becoming keenly aware of why people’s buttons get pushed and what to do about it saves time, money, and aggravation.
When you hear someone continuously ragging about the same person over and over and over (you get the point) it is time to look beyond the obvious and dig down past overt symptoms.
Interpersonal tension isn’t fundamentally the result of economic circumstances or specific people or a particular business challenge. It’s the result of forces outside the workplace – family and cultural dynamics and old hurts that have made their way into the workplace. As long as these patterns remain invisible and still potent the strife will persist.
At a recent off site one of the participants constantly asked to talk with me at breaks so he could voice his opinions about his boss. She was “impossible, rigid, and well, bossy“. He wanted me to be sure to know that nothing of worth would come from the retreat, that once back in the office it would be “business, miserable, dysfunctional, petty, business as usual“.
I asked why he stayed in a job that was so awful for him. Head bowed, he insisted he had no choice; small kids and a wife who did not work outside the home. He would just have to continue to “suck it up” and play by her unfair rules.
Late in the day we were exploring my unique model of team development. It includes forming, storming, norming, and performing and goes one step beyond. The fifth step, transforming is like adding an exclamation point! It is where the rubber meets the road in team (and family) dynamics.
That was when this very anxious and angry man began to take ownership of his hidden behavior, to put a light on the shadow that was keeping him in the relationship hell of pattern repetition.
He admitted he had never seen conflict transform. It would always be swept under the rug. Then the light bulb went on. As he was growing up he learned to perform properly, do what was expected. Yet, he had no say if he ever thought there should be a change of direction, a change of perspective. He had taken to work his belief that whoever was in charge would be “impossible, rigid, and bossy“.
At the next break he was animated, relaxed, and somewhat sheepish and said to me “I guess I owe my boss an apology, she is not my father and I kept putting his authoritarian coat on her shoulders. Maybe it’s time I look to see who she really and stop being so mad at her!!!!