Are We Just Like Washington Politicians at Work? Be Honest!

Accountability Collaboration Teamwork


I have noticed a lot of us have been grousing about the “win-lose” behavior going on in Washington. When we observe it, we find it dysfunctional and even disgusting. We say things like, “Why can’t they just work together?”  “Why can’t they put the good of the country first?” “Why is it always about me instead of we?”

So, my thought is why don’t we make sure we all demonstrate the right behaviors at work first, and then we have a better platform from which to advise and pontificate to our politicians. We have (in most cases) control over how we think and act at work. My belief is that if we all take care of what we can directly control, it will roll out to others we expect better from. A recent blog from Shawn Murphy outlined excellent guidance in this regard. I’ve replayed his advice in my Character Move below and added a few of my own comments.

Character Move:

  1. Come to meetings seeking to hear solutions, to reconcile differences. Too often we wait for someone to stop speaking only to throw in our contrarian opinion. It’s an insidious behavior that too often attempts to make another person wrong. Its intent is to make ourselves right, to look good. It sends the conversation down a rabbit hole. Another meeting wasted. Another day without progress. Another day robbing optimism. What does an offering hand look like when this happens? Redirect the conversation by reminding people that, “We’re here for solutions,  and pushing personal agendas will not be tolerated.”
  2. Establish a new precedent for intolerance of harmful exchanges. When teams come together, I expect healthy conflict. It’s characterized by ideas clashing, but with willingness to understand the other person or group’s viewpoint. Listening occurs. And if the exchange goes beyond healthy conflict, any person in the group stops the conversation. That person points out that the current direction is not going to address the team or meeting’s purpose. No more sitting silently thinking, “This is a waste of my time.” Speak up.
  3. Remember that constructive relationships are vital. Our organizations face their own set of wicked problems. A sure path to finding solutions is leadership that demands higher level of integrity in the interactions and value placed on relationships. Allowing behaviors that sabotage progress and weakens relationships simple lets wicked problems prevail. We each need to model the leadership that unites people to achieve results together. Invest in building constructive relationships with all “camps” at work.


Relationship Building in The Triangle,