When You Throw Dirt, You Lose Ground

Cookie Tuminello
August 17, 2009 — 3,529 views  
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"When you throw dirt, you lose ground." - Texas Proverb

Nothing tears down relationships, teamwork, effectiveness, and productivity like the office rumor mill and gossip. Some refer to this as water cooler chit chat. There are certain type individuals that will go straight to the source to handle a breakdown, and then there are others who will complain and whine to everyone but the person they have a grievance with.

The problem is not that these breakdowns occur; the problem is that they don't get handled when they come up. This ultimately causes a disconnect in the relationships as if there is a big white elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. This causes everyone else to walk on egg shells trying to avoid the mine fields so to speak. The result of this behavior tears down trust, integrity, confidence, productivity, and positive communication.

What can you do to abate these breakdowns and create what I call a 'blame free' environment in which everyone thrives and succeeds?

First of all, let me explain what a blame free environment is. The name says it all. It means truly blame free. The environment is solution focused, not problem focused. It means there are no victim's only victories. The focus is on the mission and intentions of the group, not on being right. It's about building trust, confidence, and open communication within the group so that they are able to handle these breakdowns when they come up and move on.

How do you achieve this blame free environment? It starts at the top with the leader of the group. Let's face it: you have to role model what it is that you want to create among your team.

I believe that by giving your team the necessary tools to handle these breakdowns, you can create a blame free environment that begets feedback, openness, trust, and skills to handle these breakdowns when they occur and in some cases prevent them from happening altogether.

Here are 3 steps to creating a blame free environment:

1. Integrity has to start at the top of the food chain. One of the best definitions I found of this powerful word is 'Integrity is consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.' Great leadership is a skill that is often 'shown' more than 'told.' How you as a team leader behave is key to getting others to follow your lead. Don't expect your team members to stick to hour long lunches if you, as their boss, routinely take 2 hour escapes from the office.

2. Building Trust. The whole team supports each other and is committed to one goal - the success of their mission. You tell the truth, come from integrity, and do what you say you are going to do. And if you can't honor your commitment, you acknowledge it to the other party, or you have a conversation to clean it up so that you can move on. It's about creating win-win relationships.

3. Communication. Learn how to handle breakdowns when they come up and don't let them hang on for too long. Remember the saying, 'one bad apple can ruin a whole bushel.' Well, that holds true for teams. You must always keep in mind that the intention is always to be solution oriented. It's not about who did 'it,' but what is best for the team and overall goals of the group. You can be right or you can be happy and successful. The choice is yours.

By incorporating integrity, trust, and solid communication skills into your company's overall performance, the sky's the limit to achieving success in your goals. And with today's iffy economy, who doesn't want to be on a winning team?

About the Author

Cookie Tuminello, 'THE Team Builder of the South', has been igniting productivity since 1999. Learn more about how Cookie empowers CEO's, managers, business owners, and team members in her FREE Report "50 Ways To Go From Overwhelmed To Results" and receive FREE weekly success tips at www.cookietuminello.com

Cookie Tuminello