What an interesting question! And, paradoxically, an issue our own Skilful.co team had been wrestling with as we created our new ‘Introduction to Teams’ course. Harmony is great, it means everyone supports each other, gets along and enjoys working with each other. However it can lead to over-politeness and an unwillingness to be seen to be critical, for fear of upsetting someone. So if we’re not careful we get into a ‘that’s good enough’ mode or worse still, saying something is ‘great’ when it’s a long way off. So what do we do? How do we maintain our relationships but still speak up when something just isn’t good enough?
Well firstly by the whole team all discussing and agreeing some groundrules, that being critical needn’t be brutal, in fact it never should be. And understanding that it’s nothing personal, we’re just focusing on an issue, not a person. Then each of the team telling the others that they want to receive feedback, almost like giving permission. Secondly it’s about agreeing that we’re trying to drive up standards and quality, which we so need to do, but that won’t happen if we accept work that’s not up to scratch. If we do, then paradoxically, the whole team suffers, all of us!
So really it’s not a question of how harmonious, like there’s a ‘harmony scale,’ but about being honest and open, and harmonious. Bridging this is not only possible, it’s essential otherwise the team will remain in stagnant harmony, smiling as they atrophy.
If you’re interested in learning more about team development, check out our ‘Introduction to Teams’ course over on Skilful.co.