Your team has had their cheese moved and discovered a sixth dysfunction while having a crucial conversation. You’ve tried to drive their purpose, test their passions and find their strengths. Profits are down, tensions are up and you are wondering what ever made you think you could pull this group together. And there lies the problem. Do you actually believe it is possible to connect with the members of this group and work together toward positive outcomes? Does each member of the team have a similar belief? Teams are made up of individuals, and those individuals each have belief systems that either support or sabotage their ability to create meaningful connections. When teams are stressed, limiting beliefs can derail any forward momentum. Knowing and believing that you can create strong, healthy relationships is the first step toward building a team.
Henry Ford said it well, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” Your personal beliefs are the filters that influence every thought, action, decision and relationship you have. Your belief system began being formed in early childhood, and every relationship you’ve ever had has contributed to your belief about the next one. So what do you believe about your ability to connect, build, maintain and deepen relationships?
There are five belief barriers to creating healthy connections. Identifying these barriers is the first step in creating healthy beliefs about your connections to others.
1. Defensiveness stems from unresolved conflicts and unhealed wounds from past connections with others. A false sense of self-preservation drives us to put up walls to prevent new hurts before they happen. There is an injustice to this defensive posture as we hold ourselves from new connections because of what someone else did to us. The problem with this is that we are assuming this new connection will be just as harmful as the ones that hurt. We fail to realize this new connection could bring healing and joy to our lives. To eliminate defensiveness, we must develop the belief that we are resilient. The word resilient stems from the Latin word that means literally “to leap back”. The resilient overcome obstacles. “The Fraud Factor” shows up when someone believes they must cover up real or imagined faults. This lack of authenticity can grow into a lack of integrity. When a member of a partnership or team puts on a front, the others usually sense it on an unconscious level. Transparency about your personal strengths and weaknesses is the best way to build trust, an essential component building relationships.
2. Dependence stems from a false belief that you are not able to accomplish your objectives on your own. An unhealthy dependence on others grows out of fear that without the strength or support of others, you are not enough. This faulty belief usually has its root in early childhood where you were not given opportunities to overcome obstacles and excel. Confidence is built slowly, one success upon another and confidence is the antidote to dependence.
3. Comparisons can be an equally destructive barrier to connection. It is human nature to do some comparing as you begin new relationships. When two people first meet, they compare differences, noting how each is unique. The danger comes when one of the parties in the relationship fail to meet some unwritten standard or criteria. Uniqueness can be an attraction factor or something that makes you feel awkward and disconnected. Diversity can be divisive or add variety and spice. Thinking “you’re not like me” or “I’m not like them” can be the beginning of a belief that either weakens or builds a connection. There are two potential routes your thinking can take:
“I’m not like them, so I don’t belong and never will.” or “I’m not like them, I can contribute my unique strengths and perspectives.”
4. Distractions take our focus off the priorities important to the relationship. Every relationship, partnership and team has values, goals, agendas and ideas whether they have been clearly communicated or not. When one member is distracted by conflicting activities, the relationship suffers. Believing in the vision of the team requires vigilant focus as well as the willingness to sacrifice personal agendas.
5. Finally, personal preferences can be a belief barrier to creating healthy connections. Certain personality types need more time and space than others. They prefer to recharge their batteries with time alone. They might need time to consider ideas and their responses. They could have a greater need for quiet. Believing that the relationship robs you of what you need to function will create tension and limit your ability to contribute generously. Individuals need to be responsible for nurturing themselves and making sure they come to their relationships as healthy and whole as possible. Communicating personal needs and taking time for yourself will help others support you in being your best. Then you can come to the group refreshed and ready to take on any challenge.