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Leading on the Edge: Extraordinary Stories and Leadership Insights from The World's Most Extreme Workplace by Rachael Robertson

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Appendix B

Build teamwork with ‘no triangles’

The best way to deal with an issue is directly with the other person.

We all face difficult or troublesome situations from time to time. Your own experiences will tell you that when you make the effort to deal directly with the other person the chances of a good outcome increase tremendously.

We know this, yet we often find it much easier to ‘rope in’ others.

Sometimes the idea of confronting an issue head-on can be just too difficult. What if they react badly? What if I don't have the ‘killer response’ to their objection? We are worried about the response we might get, so instead we will often shop an issue around. It might be to see if other people have the same issue or to bolster support. It might be so the person concerned hears it from someone else. Or it might be simply to make it go away.

When we create a ‘triangle’, we create a new set of problems

The problems with the ‘triangle’ approach are numerous. Firstly, we are telling the other person that we don't have the courage to face them, which is bad for us. Secondly, we are telling the other person that we don't trust them to have an honest and open conversation.

And thirdly, we involve other people who may not really want to be involved in the first place. There is also the chance our words can be repeated, out of context, which can compound the issue.

A conscious practice of ‘no triangles’ is required.

‘No triangles’ means simply: ‘You don't talk to me about her, and I don't ...

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