By Stacy Eads
September 6, 2022

Fragile and frayed team?

Your team can grow through what they go through.
Fragile stamp on package

How many worries can one mind hold? As the news media makes headline after headline for the last two years, many of us have taken on worries we’ve never had before. Some of us even learned a few new medical or economic phrases throughout this global rollercoaster ride we’ve been on. Supply chain management, pandemic safety controls, The Great Resignation, recession fears, inflation aftermath, work-from-home, new patterns, and so much more. The headlines and phrases all add up to feeling worn down. Fragile. Frayed around the edges.

I’m no psychologist or sociologist, but it’s pretty clear that underlying all the new vocabulary words of the last 24+ months is an overall sense of worry and anxiousness. 

People feel on edge. Period.

I feel it. Do you feel it?

I was recently at an OKC Business Conference where my lunch table mates expressed just how emotionally different they felt this year versus two years ago. We all agreed we feel fragile, in essence.

Many entrepreneurs across the metro, the U.S., and even North America have confided in me during our private coaching sessions that it is as though just one more thing might cause us all to snap. 

Does that describe you? Maybe you’d use a more eloquent way to express your emotions and feelings—but you feel “it,” … right?

Whether at home or in the workplace, we are walking on eggshells waiting on that last straw to break the camel’s back. We’re anticipating the crackle and crash of our energy and forward momentum. We are living one day at a time, just making it through to the next. So how can we help our teams through this?

People are at the heart of our companies. And right now, people may be hurting and need a hand-up. 

Now more than ever, as an executive business coach helping the C-suite support their teams, I’m seeing more groups discuss EQ in the office. The “emotional quotient” has to be balanced with the goal-setting needs of a scaling corporation or small business.

For example, I’m seeing more executives want renewed DISC Behavior Profiles and 12 Driving Forces reports better to understand people’s motivations behind their behavior trends. They want to get to know their team better. Did you know you should re-test your natural and adaptive styles after any significant life event or every 12-18 months?

We all grow, shift, and shape over time. We are not one stagnant thing our whole lives. Tapping into newfound strengths and coping skills over the last two years may have impacted who you are and what you value in the workplace these days. 

I’m also seeing teams ready and willing to dive deep into Patrick Lencioni’s 5 Cohesive Behaviors of a Team and truly learn the difference between this style of collaborative cohesion versus the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. The below pyramid of concepts helps teams build a strong foundation that ultimately adds up to the ultimate results we seek.

5: Trust

It is 100% foundational to any team. Without trust, you cannot develop a safe space to speak freely and openly about your ideas. The ability to trust one another is a cohesive behavior of a team. A persistent lack of trust is a dysfunction. How do you nurture trust in your company?

4: Healthy conflict

Once you have developed a safe space over time and your team trusts one another at a deeper level, healthy conflict around ideas will come much more easily. Holding back innovative concepts in meetings or not expressing your opinion on the new company direction can lead to large elephants in the room. The ability to have constructive debates as a team is a cohesive behavior. A fear of conflict is a dysfunction. How do you encourage everyone to share their opinions on an idea?

3: Commitment

As a manager, you can never truly gain real commitment from the team without honest buy-in on the goals to attain. If I don’t trust you as a manager, then I won’t speak up in a safe space to disagree or ask pivotal questions, which is a natural part of gaining someone’s commitment to a decision. If there’s no healthy conflict and discussion of the goals at hand, I’ll leave the room seeing what you wrote on paper for my department to achieve, but I won’t believe it can be done. I won’t feel committed to the task because I’m disconnected from the goal-setting experience. Gaining commitments from the team is a cohesive behavior. In contrast, lack of commitment is a symptom that your team is struggling with one of the foundational dysfunctions of a lack of trust or fear of healthy conflict. Have you noticed some of your employees showing a lack of commitment?

2: Accountability

All executives would love for your entire team to take accountability for the goals set. You want them to strive to achieve their best each and every day. But to be accountable for my goals, I need to feel committed to them. And that commitment is only attained through healthy conflict, honest dialogue, and a safe space to trust my ideas have been heard before final decisions are made. If you struggle with a team that is not accountable for executing its goals, look at the base of your Patrick Lencioni pyramid to see where the problem lies. As the leader, do you feel accountable for achieving the outcomes?

1: Pinnacle results

It’s what every executive wants—pinnacle results—but there’s a mountain to climb before you can reap those rewards. It starts with building a foundation of trust in your team, then ensuring you invite healthy conflict and honest feedback to attain team commitment to the goals. Each person needs to feel engaged in their accountability to achieve pinnacle results for the company. If you have an inattention to results within your department, your team suffers from dysfunction. You need to look down the pyramid for a root cause.

I hope this knowledge is helpful in your journey through these unprecedented times. In the end, gaining more tools in your toolbelt to level up your emotional intelligence in the office can never be a bad thing. 

After all, people are at the heart of our companies, and we must meet them where they are today. Bring the tools to the table, and see the team grow through what we go through.

For additional resources to support you and your team, such as a free 5 Dysfunctions of a team checklist assessment, visit www.StacyEads.com

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About Stacy Eads

Edmond native & UCO Alumna, Stacy Eads, is an award-winning “Most Admired CEO” who scaled her company as a Woman in Tech before becoming an International Scaling Up Business Coach. She now empowers other CEOs from $2M to $200M to embrace their leadership potential through quarterly strategic planning. Her talent is in high demand to CEO Coach, Train Teams, and Speak at Events in both the U.S.A. and Canada.

Stacy Eads’ career affiliations include 50 Women Making a Difference award, Circle of Excellence award, Torch Ethics award, Most Admired CEO award, Edmond Chamber & UCO Mentor, Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors, TEDx OKC Speaker Coach, and Ambassador Chairwoman for the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.