“Artificial Harmony” is a condition that silently strikes many teams. Perhaps surprisingly, I experienced it early in my career with Learning Unlimited. I participated in and furthered the overly friendly, comfortable culture. Good intentions deceptively produced a peaceful, respectful workplace; yet “fear of conflict” due to “limited trust” stole my team’s best results.
Artificial harmony makes teams appear healthy. Since people are being nice and seemingly respectful, the more pronounced signs of team dysfunction like destructive conflict, shouting, and anger are not present. However, when exploring below the surface, one finds fragile egos, fear, limited trust, and under-performance that come from a “fear of conflict”.
Artificial harmony crushes the unlimited benefits and advantages of true teamwork. It keeps growth at bay and disallows the fun and satisfaction that highly functioning teams enjoy.
When team’s courageously embrace Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and practice his wickedly-practical model, they can experience the deep satisfaction, growth, and pride that naturally results from true teamwork. In addition, the “Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team” is another sensible solution to the artificial harmony problem.