Fully Functional

I have the great privilege to often work with highly functional people delivering sessions as a small team.  The pleasure and value of working in a such a team is hard to over estimate.

There are no ego struggles or tantrums. Conflicts and issues are dealt with quickly and kindly. We are interested in each other and willing to learn and to teach.  Feedback is given regularly and supportively, and taken confidently and acted upon.  Although we usually have some sort of formal leader, there is little sense of hierarchy with everyone getting to lead with the support of others on their strengths or turn and quickly shifting to follow another on their strength or turn.

The results are that everyone gets to perform at their best, there is minimal stress and a lot of fun, while the job gets done very effectively.

Not all work (family or social) environments are as fruitful or fun.

We often experience ego struggles, passive aggression, unspoken conflicts, destructive competition and insecurity, even in managers and leaders.

How should we respond to these challenges and why and how might we seek to change things?

When we find ourselves in uncomfortable or stressful situations the first thing to do is to admit that we might be part of the problem.  Most conflict type situations are co-created, even if we feel they are clearly initiated by one individual they cannot escalate without the active or passive participation of others.

With admission of participation comes responsibility and with responsibility comes the opportunity to change the situation.

Like any disease (dis-ease) the next step is some sort of diagnosis, understanding the problem helps you to find the right tools and approaches to solve it.

And for most of us this means learning.  Except for  fortunate few there was an implicit assumption in our upbringing and education that all this human relationship stuff comes naturally or is not important

It doesn’t and it is.

A lot of very clever psychologists and others have had to work hard to understand the infinite complexities and variations of human behaviour and interaction.

There is absolutely no reason to expect that people will just pick it up naturally and it is incredibly important to our wellbeing, our effectiveness and our happiness.

With our acceptance of responsibility and our acceptance that we do not already know the answer we become open to learning and the place we need to start is with ourselves.  We cannot even begin to guide others until we have a reasonable depth of self knowledge and awareness.

Those clever psychologists and others have been kind enough to publish books and tools to help us work these things out.  We can learn empirically, from books, from coaching, courses and from personality profiling tools.

Most of us like to talk about ourselves, learning about ourself is this to the max.  If we can overcome any fears around it, it is fascinating and fun.  We can sleuth around like a detective in our own personality to discover why we repeat the same patterns or experience particular feelings, and how to change them.

Very often the change in our response is enough to dramatically alter and improve the situation that first attracted us to this path, without any need to deliberately act to influence the others.

However, once we embark on the journey of self discovery it is difficult to stop and there are always opportunities to introduce others to their potential too.  Whether we choose to act directly or indirectly, we can also help colleagues, friends and family to find answers to their questions too.  In most circumstances self discovery cannot (and should not) be imposed, the exception is in a team development environment, where a manager might introduce the idea of self development via team development in a supportive way.

One note of caution is that embarking on your journey can put a distance between you and those around you who don’t embark on a similar journey.  As we discover ourselves and become more clear in our tastes and behaviours we can find ourselves alienated from those we once considered close, unless they can be persuaded to make the journey as well.

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With love


Neil Crofts
authentic business
+34 646391384
Skype – neilcrofts











About Neil Crofts

Writer, coach and consultant on authentic business and authentic leadership. Neil has inspired and motivated hundreds organisations and thousands of individuals to their highest potential. Neil has written three published books and numerous e-books. Neil is a coach, facilitator and consultant helping people and businesses find their authentic purpose and use it to inspire and motivate them to be everything that they can be. Neil has raced cars, been self-employed, run a company and sold it, been employed by large companies, experienced growth and contraction at the heart of the dotcom boom, tried changing companies from the inside and from the outside as European Head of Strategy at internet consultancy/rock band Razorfish. Neil has been independent for over 10 years and delivered his Authentic Leadership message to a diverse range of business audiences including people at BP, Shell, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, MSN, Jamie Oliver, South Gloucestershire Council, National Blood Transfusion Service, KaosPilots Business School, Fashion company By Malene Birger, German technology company Eleven.
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4 Responses to Fully Functional

  1. James Towell says:

    Hi Neil
    “we can find ourselves alienated from those we once considered close”

    Well, in my experience there’s not a single person I’m not closer to since I started my own journey eight years ago. If I find someone I loose connection with, I use it as an opportunity to learn to love more. I’ve been the person who was objectionable, and yet people helped me, so on one level it’s just my pay back. On another level, it’s a standard I have chosen. I can’t always live up to it, but it’s not one I’m willing to compromise on now.

    Life gives us many opportunities to learn, and I suppose “alienation” is one of those opportunities.

    James x

  2. Steve says:

    Hi Neil

    As an inhabitant of this planet we call earth it has taken me 55 years to recognise my own ego as something other than the real me.

    There are whole man made structures in place that encourage and nourish our ego. From the age of 5 we go to school where we are praised for doing something which our masters deem as good. We are compared against others some of whom are better or worse than us. We are then told to sit something called an exam where we must not collaborate because that is bad or cheating.

    At some point we all wake up from a nightmare which nourishes our ego.

    Imagine an environment where collaboration is praised and individuality is measured not by an exam but by our ability to share and deliver something that improves all of us.

    All we need to do is change our whole society and replace our hard wired perceived view of the world for something that is closer to the truth.

    One step at a time and we will get there.



  3. Jason says:

    Are there any books/resources/etc that you’ve found useful in your own self discovery and would recommend? Several related books I’ve read more recently include “Brain Rules” and “Change Anything.”

    • Neil Crofts says:

      I find personality profiling/psychometrics to be the most useful as they are much more personal than books – things like Firo B, Enneagram, SDI, MBTI, my own life purpose e-book. I would not recommend only one, I think it is worth doing several and building up a broader picture.

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