Roger Harrison has articulated that healthy organizations display both alignment and attunement. Alignment refers to the commitment to the mission and identity of the organization. Attunement refers to the relational care and concern that the team exhibits for one another. Both are essential.
A team that is aligned but not attuned feels very focused, but also very rigid. While a lot is accomplished, over time people feel used. Here are three warning signs your team is not attuned:
1. Lack of forgiveness
Teams that are attuned keep a short record of wrongs, learn from their mistakes, forgive one another, and move forward. Groups that take risks and try new things will make mistakes. If these are constantly resurfaced and held over people, the culture becomes one of backstabbing and self-justifying.
2. Lack of laughter
When a team is healthy there is joy and laughter among the leaders. People enjoy their roles, the mission, and each other, and laughter is often the expression of the joy they share together. There don’t have to be trips to the bowling alley, trust falls, or pizza parties for a staff to get along. But attuned teams actually enjoy working together and serving alongside one another. If there aren’t funny memories, jokes about each other’s quirks, or laughter in any meetings—the team likely does not really enjoy being together.
3. Lack of grief
Life continually presents pain and trials. People on teams struggle with their kids, loss, sickness, and a myriad of other issues. If the team does not grieve together over these issues and encourage one another in the midst of them, the team may be aligned around work but they are not attuned to one another.
Without attunement, the team won’t be together for the long-haul.