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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch


When coaching, many of the same themes come up time and time again. This one is front and center. How to navigate all of the surrounding dysfunction in the team/ company? Basically...

How to find function in the dysfunction?

I was recently writing a recap to a client and thought I would share my thoughts with you.

“I was thinking about our conversation and all of the chaos that surrounds you. I wonder if it is any different than it was 2 years ago (prior to coaching) or, are you just more aware of it and able to now see the possibilities and understand the complexities? After you have "seen the light" it is really hard to unsee it!

Controlling and owning your part and influencing your small area of the world is what you can do. Make each interaction thoughtful, intentional, and inspiring to the other. Lead by example and empathy and see the humanness in every interaction. Slow down and focus not on the "result or outcome" but appreciate the path to the end, the feelings involved, the intricate web of emotions at play, and the dynamic lives being interwoven together.

You have a love for conformity and predictability and when that doesn't happen it is easy to get derailed. Instead, can you see the beauty in the complicated process of discovery? Sit in the unknown, without taking it on, just watch and observe the process unfold. The new learnings that are discovered and experienced by others are what will slowly move the needle from dysfunction to function.”

If we can all take a moment to become aware and curious as to the other’s shoes as opposed to focusing on the dysfunction. What is driving their emotion, what is important to them at this very moment? Is fear playing a part? It is these questions that will lead you to common ground. Finding a shared place of interest of which to begin the next conversation. Building a relationship of trust and respect.

"Dysfunction" is really our perception of how we see reality. My dysfunction could be your function. Is it fair to assume that individuals act in ways they believe to be constructive?

The key is to identify the congruence of vision.

Are you able to appreciate and recognize the unique talents that others bring and the shared sacrifices that we all make to be part of a great team? By focusing on that, you may be able to find common ground for change.

It is so easy to get laser focused on one aspect of work that we lose our sense of perspective. How much does this really matter? Is this something I will be thinking about or even remember in six months? Picking your battles and preserving your energy for the bigger issues may be worthwhile.​

This is a very hard challenge, one that is easier if you have a trusted confidant to debrief with or just share disappointments. It is certainly easy and tempting to retreat, shorten your gaze and only give the minimum but I would argue you are not only giving up on your team but more importantly, you are giving up on your potential. Finding the strength to believe in the seeming impossible is what will drive change.

You be the change.

My Challenge To You:

  • Can you commit to not giving up? Focus on what you do have impact and influence on and laser in on that one item.

  • Remember all of the positives with your team/ company. It is easy to see the dysfunction but it is important to remember all of the elements that are working well. The brilliant service, the committed employees, the larger vision of excellence.

  • Hold yourself accountable. People are watching you so be careful with your words and actions. Lead and conduct yourself with integrity and help others to see the positive.

  • What part are you playing in the dysfunction? Attitude? Lack of commitment? You can set the tone for positive change if you are willing.

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