The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Little clarity

When a team feels at ease with one another and with their task, everyone in the team will have a sense of clarity they can use to know how to contribute.

However, they might give preference to one or the other of both. Some will be keener to feel good about the team, others will prefer to feel good about the task. Given such preferences, misunderstandings will easily appear and behaviors will drift apart.

As human beings, they also have differing preferences as to how to approach such a situation. Some will search for a way to give meaning to it to feel good about themselves. Others will work on establishing a shared understanding of the situation to feel good about the group. It is an approach serving their need to feel safe in the team.

It is based on an unconscious decision and reaction to the situation that is below the surface of a good intention to trust others or align the team. Whatever this unconscious decision is, it influences the decision-making process. These decisions then tend to shift the structure of existing roles, tasks, and authority. These shifts are habitual ways to react to perceived risks.

What the team members might not consider is that a lack of clarity can also be a natural consequence of the evolution of the team or the task. The situation they are in has changed. It can be because individuals find themselves in a different situation than before. Or because the work on the task has brought up new information and questions.

The ability to perceive the existing lack of clarity is what enables one or more individuals to step out of their comfort zone to seek greater clarity. By knowing that they have lost their initial clarity they can search for it without needing to work towards a solution or towards feeling good. Whenever they act in that sense they help to open up a field of possibilities for the team.

It is the realm where individual team members decide on submissiveness or find autonomy.

However, when seeking autonomy, they must overcome the need to feel good as installed through the group culture or the leader’s anxiety.

It is also a realm in which leaders install the type of team they want to have. Which can be a contrast to the type of team they think or say they want to have.


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