Tribunals in Teams
Often, reflection in the team also means the necessity of team members to give feedback to each other. However, and many have already experienced this, the feedback can become a tribunal. Finally someone is saying what the matter is! And, of course, it is clear who is the culprit!
Feedback in teams can quickly derail, therefore, often, it is instinctively avoided. It derails:
• because exaggeration processes are created
• because favours are called in
• because if one addresses one topic, then another also comes into play
• because the focus forms around the negative, the reproach and the attack
• because defence, counter attack or internal and external avoidance are the response
For this reason, it is important to be clear that feedback revolves around establishing a difference between the self-observation of the individual (or several) and the outside observation of others. This difference stimulates reflection in those affected and enables, as a consequence, unlearning or non- learning. From this, one can deduce that the more it links to the already existing self-awareness processes of the affected, the more likely it is that feedback is productive. If there is no inner instance, in which someone has perhaps already thought similarly to the person giving the feedback, then defensive non-learning reactions are probable (“I was totally flabbergasted! He must be crazy, telling me that!”). Unless you have reason to believe that you will encounter pre-existing reflection with your feedback, you should never give such feedback firstly in the team (=public), but always initially in the protected space of a one-to-one conversation.