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Guest AuthorPrarthana Sethumadhavan
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DYSFUNCTIONAL TEAMS

By | Sakalya Holistic HR Solutions | Services across HR Consulting

Most corporates bemoan dysfunctional teams impacting organizational morale, organizational climate and organizational productivity. Teams are littered with people who seem dysfunctional to each other thereby creating major organizational downers like Communication Gaps, Trust Deficits, Power Dynamics, Low Morale, Lack of Ownership and Accountability to name just a few.

Working with teams I have come across various complaints that range from tyrannical bosses, in house egomaniacs, control freaks, unclear roles, incompetence, unjust rewarding, credit stealing, disciplinary issues, ethics, integrity, misinformation, unclear goals, nebulous information, unfair performance ratings… and the lists go on.

Team Dynamics is a fusion of multiple energies, each vibrating at a different level. By this I mean, that all members of the team work with their own set of internal beliefs systems, values and attitudes that does not always find harmony with the other. It is these disparaging differences among the members that cause major rifts, clashes, gorges that have a detrimental impact on overall organization wellness and health. In cases, where there is a congruence seen in teams, these energies have found their natural symphony to resonate in harmony. But that is not always a given.

 Organizations spend billions of dollars on Team Building and Team Engagement trainings, only to see a dissipated Placebo effect that evaporates as quickly as it sets in. This is because we do not address the CORE ISSUES that are being played at subconscious levels within the team members. The differences are there because each member sees a different interpretation of the same event, and behaves consequently. 

To address team issues or Leadership issues, Transformative Coaching is one of the most valuable tools available to corporates.

What is Transformative Coaching?

The word Transformative means – causing a major change to something or someone , especially in a way that makes it or them better.

Transformative coaching helps a client to identify deep within themselves thought patterns or their internal coding system that empowers or limits their imagination, thoughts and behavioural actions at their cognitive levels.

It is a well known fact that all external behaviour is propelled from the inner workings of our unconscious minds, which contrary to popular myths and beliefs, works to protect oneself against any real or perceived threats in our internal and external environments. Internal coding begins as early as birth and some belief even at the womb.

The human mind has a humongous sponge like ability to absorb data from the external environment, without conscious cognition via the route of sensory perceptions. This virgin data that is collected and stored, is further nueronically fortified once the data gets evidence of it being true or false, that lays the foundations of belief systems in our subconscious minds… eg – “ Women should only be nurturers’’; `Children should always obey’; ` One should always pray in the morning and evening’ .. so on so forth. These nuggets of evidential information that have been stored in our inner core will direct behaviour…. E.g. – A person who believes that the role of a woman is only to nurture will not allow/ be comfortable if a woman works or builds a career. Such a boss will constantly cause friction with female team members unknowingly, because the female member’s role is in direct clash to his inner belief system. A training programme on gender or gender sensitization will not really help him till the point he is made aware of this belief buried within. Changing this belief will then bring a change in his attitude towards women , and thus harmonize their working relationships.

The same holds true in case of parenting, relationships etc. We not only work in dysfunctional teams in organizations, but most family units/ teams are dysfunctional and work with crossed and incongruent belief systems that cause angst and disharmony in the environment.

Therefore ,in order to bring meaningful change within organizations, coaching, which works with changing behaviour via tapping into clients inherent database of beliefs, bringing conscious coherence of the same is a potent tool. Coaching helps bring acknowledgement and mindfulness along with the knowledge of how the same have shaped self-destructive behaviours, causing bad decisions both personally and professionally -and thus will bring a constructive change in clients, and thereby consequently in their immediate eco systems.

Transformational Coaching works with clients on changing the way they see themselves or their “SELF IMAGE’’. All behaviours will find their roots in the self image and the workings of the subconscious mind. Changing the way you see one sees oneself, brings about transformative changes in behaviour and outcomes. 

How does change in Brain Patterns impact external outcomes ?

( Reference Information)

In Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (Ecco, 2011), neuroscientist Michael S. Gazzaniga says we get stuck in our automatic thought-processing and fool ourselves into thinking we are right. When someone asks us why we did something, we immediately come up with an answer even if the response doesn’t make complete sense. We inherently justify all our actions with brilliant reasoning. This process is automatic and one is not aware of how this conspires in the subconscious mind.

For behaviour to change, intervention is needed to interrupt this automatic processing

A transformative coach plays the role of a sage facilitator and asks pertinent questions that points to lacuna in a client’s logic and ask questions that reveal the hidden fears, needs and desires of the client, keeping the essential constructs in place. NeuroBusiness Group founder and CEO Srinivasan S. Pillay, M.D., writes that this coaching approach is the only way to stop the automatic processing. Reflection and questions crack the force field that protects your client’s sense of reality, enabling him/her to explore, examine and change strongly held beliefs and behavior.

The reaction to bringing these things to light will register somewhere between slight discomfort and an emotional outpour. Momentary confusion and abrupt realizations will trigger emotional reactions. The truth can hurt or at least surprise you before it sets you free. Therefore, negative emotions can be a good sign as it protects you from all conceived and perceived threats. When a client recognizes and realizes with acceptance and understanding that she/he has blocked a truth that was in their face the entire time, they may react with disbelief, anger, mortification and denial. They are basically looking at their blind spots, and the brain is at a loss on how to behave as it has no predetermined pattern of response. As Nessa Victoria Bryce writes in the July/August 2014 issue of Scientific American Mind, this pause in certainty as the brain rushes to reinterpret information is necessary for a clearer and broader understanding of the situation to emerge. In researching how coaching works in the brain for The Discomfort Zone, it is found this moment of uncertainty is necessary for behavioral learning to occur. Only with this new awareness will a client willfully commit to behaving in a different way.

Therefore be it team dynamics or home/ family dynamics peeling away the layers from the subconscious mind will play a major role in changing behaviours to bring positive, empowered and mindful outcomes.

Teams are not dysfunctional, but we carry diverse belief systems and values that seek resonance and many a times don’t find them in our immediate working relationships. A Team is a relationship that we can build by removing the screens of our inner mind workings and thus empower us to truly embrace diverse perspective/s and understand where they are coming from and appreciate the same. Only then can we successfully say, we are building a team. We need to work with our own inner dysfunctionalities which inhibit and curb our behaviours and relationships to unleash our own potential and untold possibilities and in case of teams the unbounded synergy that will flow.

Republished with permission and originally published at LinkedIn

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