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  • Writer's pictureBrent Stromwall

Team Health Pt. 5 - Correction and Shame

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Team Heath, Part 5: Correction and Shame

" A community that does not use healthy shame to build more authentically joyful relationships is the seedbed for future narcissism," warns Dr. E. James Wilder in "The Pandora Problem." Building robust group identity intertwined with compassion forms the foundation for constructive correction. Collective consensus on the group's identity is essential. When a member acts in a manner contrary to this identity, others can then guide them with compassion.

Healthy correction is relational, where a compassionate individual facilitates the experience of shame in the person. By prioritizing the relationship over the problem, they stand by the individual in their moment of pain, demonstrating compassion for them. The corrected person can find their way back to joy, despite the initial shame, initiating the correction process for the future.

Healthy shame messages serve as a corrective tool, reminding individuals to be their best selves, fostering healthy relationships and group cohesion. Correction without compassion is toxic, as Dr. E. James Wilder emphasizes, "Without healthy shame, there is no transformation."

In organizations using the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), the group identity statement "Drop it down" reinforces behavior correction. When used, it signals healthy shame and encourages individuals to focus on issue-solving during the designated time in the meeting. Oftentimes, people drone on with rationalizations, narratives, or self-justification in an attempt to deflect blame or avoid admitting a wrong. “Drop it down” reminds team members that we do not avoid admitting our failures; we reveal them seeking help from others to get back on track.

Resilient groups use these messages to strengthen their group identity and relationships. Messages are most effective when delivered by someone who has compassion and prioritizes the relationship. This fosters character growth and helps the team approach issues, internal or external, collaboratively and creatively while working towards the organization's greater good.

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