Critical Results of Negative Tension on a Team

Tug not War – Part 2

Check out Part 1 and Part 3

In Part 1, we looked at four words associated with tension. They are conflict, stress, strain, or pressureTension on a team can be fatal. Teams are made of a diverse group of people, to say the least. They all have different behaviors and personalities.

We often use the Personality Imprint and Team Imprint to assess the diversity and uniqueness of a team. Personal coaching and team development will allow you to go to deeper levels. You learn their personality, behaviors, strengths, stresses, and passions.

The word tension can be defined as, “the act of stretching or straining.” Both are action words and picture something pulled in different directions, therefore, we have “tension”. Note though, there is a positive side, “stretching”, and a negative side, “straining”.

Leaders realize that a diverse team is a good thing. The worst thing a leader can have is a team of clones. The way I look at, I can do what I can do. I need people around me that are good at doing things I am not good at doing. The problem is that diversity of personalities can create negative tension.

In the next post, we will look at positive tension on a team. For this discussion, let me give you a list of some of the effects of negative tension:

Unhealthy Competition – The right kind of “free market” competition is good, the wrong kind can kill you. Team members will begin undercutting their peers because they will see them as competition. Instead of working together, they will work independently.

Survival of the Fittest – Negative tension always brings out the worst in people. We all know the potential for negativity is there, we just suppress it. When you get dominate, passionate people working against each other, they will butt heads more often than not. Negative tensions breeds the “survival of the fittest” mentality on a team. 

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Unmet Expectations – No doubt your team has the desire to succeed or they would not be on your team. When one fails, the team begins to fail. When the team begins to fail, the bar of success gets lowered for the entire team. At that point, the individual bar of success is lowered. Negative tension will cause the person who is passionate and goal-driven to feel frustrated and no longer driven.

A Martyr Mentality – Team members will say or feel things like, “I am the only one doing my job. I won’t do my job and their job, too. It’s just not fair, etc.” I think you get the gist. They come across as being the ‘savior’ of the team. At that point, your most positive person then turns negative.

Disloyalty – After the other things begin to form, disloyalty will set it. First, the team members will become disloyal to each other. Second, they will become disloyal to the leader. Last, they will become disloyal to the cause. Then, “Houston, you got a problem.”

A Spreading Disease – When the steps of disloyalty start, it will soon spread beyond the team. Their family and friends will begin to get involved. The people that are following the team will get a bad attitude about other team members, the leader, and the cause. Negative tension is like a poison in the water, it affects everyone who drinks it.

Negative tension is like a poison in the water, it affects everyone who drinks it Click To Tweet

Implosion – All that is left is the eulogy. The gusto and drive is gone. The heart of the team and the cause has been gutted. When the vision is lost, it’s all but over without drastic measures being taken.  Later people will look back at the team and the cause and wonder what happened. They will think it was a faulty vision or a lack of opportunity and resources, but the real problem would be “negative tension” not properly addressed.

When the vision is lost, it’s all but over without drastic measures being taken Click To Tweet

Check ouPart 1 and Part 3

If you are interested in having someone work with you or your team, check out Connexus Group.