And what is this pain all about? It is the cost of forging mutually dependent relationships. Really, the cost of conflict. And conflict, especially with those we trust and respect, can be painful.
The purpose of this post is to test for this pain and remind ourselves that the pain is worth it. In fact, if teams and organizations knew the rewards hidden on the other side of conflict, they would line up to practice it. Our default mode is to write, teach, and consult on the subject, anything but actually do it. Let's agree there is no time to waste with anything but the real deal. Bring on the pain of interdependence.
So here’s how it works:
Engaging in team interdependence involves making and keeping individual commitments, for organizational success, beyond personal comfort. It is likely we will avoid or outright fail to deliver on some or all of these commitments. When we are confronted on the gap, and take it personally, defenses kick in: excuses, denials, “stories” about the incompetency of our team mates etc. This lack of integrity produces pain i.e. doubt, fear, anger etc. And the cycle takes any number of twists and turns. Relate?
Recently, I have been in a string of these experiences on my own team: a newly defined role, new teammates to partner with, new metrics and deadlines, operating in the new social media world, have all produced pain points. Are these opportunities for interdependence, or problems to solve alone. It's my choice. But I have noticed the best results when I acknowledge the pain and go back to the team for support.
What results have you noticed when partnering with your colleagues in new ways?
What does interdependence look like, practically speaking?