Triangulation is an Expensive Habit

Triangulation is an insidious habit that erodes trust and creates gridlock in organizations. When people choose to talk to their coworkers, managers and family, instead of the people they’re frustrated with, they set up an unfortunate dynamic.

While there are times when people need to vent, letting venting become a habit often reinforces the very behavior patterns that people are complaining about. Persistently complaining about others behind their backs keeps people on both sides of the equation from directly addressing the issues.

When people don’t get valuable feedback they just keep doing what they’re doing. They miss opportunities to develop and refine their skills. Learning opportunities are lost. If the leadership bench strength of your organization is not very strong, these missed learning opportunities represent an expensive loss.

Triangulation makes any kind of organization change a lot harder, and sometimes, impossible. Critical conversations don’t happen, frustration turns into animosity and people don’t give others the feedback they need to make mid-course corrections in the change process. Left unchecked, triangulation can lead to strangulation of change.

Many people have accepted that’s just how things are. People will be people. They accept triangulation as an inevitable part of the human experience in organizations. It doesn’t have to be that way.

To reduce triangulation in your team or your organization:

As triangulation fades away, trust flourishes. When people are able to respectfully talk directly to each other, they can navigate challenges – big and small – with greater ease and speed. That’s a huge payoff for shifting one bad habit.

Dianna L. Anderson, MCC
CEO, Cylient

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What have you seen work to end the triangulation habit?

One Response to Triangulation is an Expensive Habit

  1. Tina Cason says:

    Very interesting I cannot wait to implement this behavior not only in myself but others in our Admin. office as well

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