Have a Bad Day!

Published: January 23, 2019

Seriously, we wish you a bad day. May struggle fill your agenda. May you confront problems never before faced. May your ability to adapt be tested. May you become aware of your weakest link. May demands stretch your team’s capacity to the brink of failure. Invite the tension. Seize the opportunity. Discover the resolution. What happens next is game changing.

Invite the Tension
Problem-solving is the currency of growth. The only way to build coping skills is to be immersed in a situation that requires them. Without conflict, teams default to staying the same. Sameness is comfortable and safe. It’s easier to avoid crucial conversations than to have them. All pain becomes normal eventually. Coping with an unsatisfactory situation by complaining is not as difficult as learning how to fix it. When a team embraces the value of tension, creative solutions are unleashed.

Seize the Opportunity
People of all ages struggle most before the acquisition of a new skill. It is easiest to see in children. When a child has a difficult day, a new developmental ability is usually just around the corner. It might be the language to communicate needs or perhaps improved coordination. Regardless of what ability develops, the period of difficulty pushes the new skill into place so the child can negotiate the complexities of their world with more agility. When an adult has a difficult day, he or she is often lacking the tools to cope with an unexpected change or a seemingly unsolvable problem. They feel lost. The conflict forces the development of new capacity.

Discover the Resolution
Organizations willing to experience healthy tension are frequently staffed by teams of people who are willing to take risks. They know the outcome of struggle is resolution. They understand that growth has a pain component. They aspire for more than the routine success of the mainstream. They push themselves to new heights. They view problems as puzzles eager to be solved.

Bad days are the fuel for good days. Good days can squander opportunities. Chances to grow happen all the time despite our propensity to miss them. Conflict-free living stunts development. Have the courage to get lost. No one stays lost forever. Not knowing what to do is a gift. It sends you on a new journey. Would you rather have ten years of experience or one year of experience ten times? So, by all means, have a bad day.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.