Our experiences have revealed a comfortable pattern existing in many leadership teams – especially if the membership has remained fairly stable over a 3 to 5 year period. They have got socially comfortable with each other and like to be “nice” to each other – conforming to the “acceptable and normal” way of interaction. There is an agreed “hierarchy” and people know when to back down, smile and wave and let someone get their way without confrontation. They are even socialised not to want to engage in conflict, and will adamantly conclude they do not have conflict within the team because they all get on really well and work well as a team.
Social courage comes to call in teams like this – as they have got too comfortable and as a result create mediocre performance while believing they are working as a high performing team.
An easy to recognise indicator is the use of humour – we are socially comfortable with humour and it is used in teams like these to deflect us from the heart of the matter where people might challenge the status quo and feel challenged personally – so let’s not do this – when we feel challenged or see someone else feeling challenged, let’s rather make a joke, have a few laughs and move on with the existing status quo!
Take a good hard look at your team – is social courage coming to call – if so engage in a conversation with us and let’s explore what you can do.