What You Tolerate You Sanction

Productivity and profitability are not always indications of a healthy team. Often, they occur at the expense of employee satisfaction and workplace culture. When money is being made, it’s easy to overlook the soul-sucking interactions that get normalized over time. Anyone who has ever been in this type of environment knows the compromise. Sunday nights are filled with dread yet you drag yourself in on Monday morning. Friday brings relief and Saturday is devoted to recuperation. Weeks turn to months and months turn to years. Before you know it, you’re old.

What you tolerate you sanction. Any pain becomes normal eventually: conflict, disrespect, mistrust, fear and depletion. When discomfort becomes a way of life, it’s easy to get stuck and accept your circumstances. The challenge is to see the struggle as purposeful and find the best way to cope.

Stay stuck or move forward. Solve for the pain. There are constructive ways to manage conflict. Disrespect and mistrust are cured by communication and accountability. Fear can mobilize action once calm and clarity are activated. Depletion requires refueling.

Healthy teams recognize the stage they are managing and the reasons for it. Strong teams resist the normalization of deviance by frequently asking these questions:

  1. In what stage is our team? Why are we struggling?
  2. Why are we at this stage? What led to this moment?
  3. What actions should we take to move forward? Can we become stronger and healthier?

The beauty of solving this problem as a group is that every teammate occupies a different place in the cycle. Each person’s circumstances impact everyone else. Understanding your teammate’s challenge helps steer your direction. Being understood enables others to adjust to your priorities. Why not make effective coping and resilience the norms you tolerate and sanction?