Communities need to form, storm and norm to be able to perform.
What makes a team successful is the coming together of various viewpoints, experiences, values and ideas. Throw these elements together in the crucible that is a project, add the pressure of having to deliver, the heat of emotion and the stirring of changing parameters and of course there will be a violent reaction. It is this “storming” of the team that transforms the original idea into a result that is powerful, enduring and remarkable.
Seth Godin, in a recent post called “Righteous Indignation“, discusses how people sometimes get emotional or dramatic as a default response for when one is irritated, disappointed, or otherwise angry. He observes that getting upset rarely works to anyone’s advantage, then asks “What if you took it out of your toolbox of responses?”
I see displays of passion as a good thing. I disagree somewhat with Seth. If someone feels indignation, it’s because from their point of view some standard has been broken or some boundary has been violated. What I disagree with is the idea of simply “eliminating [righteous indignation] as an option” – good luck trying to do so, unless you’re a Vulcan. Actually let’s celebrate the fact that people are speaking up instead of bottling-up the emotions.
If I value the relationship with the person, be it a client, a colleague, or a team member or simply another person, it is up to me to figure out what has happened to trigger the emotion and to repair it. The relationship between a leader and another person is never symmetrical – it is almost always up to the leader to take responsibility first, and by taking responsibility first, one becomes a leader.
Indeed, if there is no conflict, the quality of the result could be questionable. The key is to know what is the right combination of pressure and heat to turn black carbon into a diamond.