tense or intense

Such similar words with potentially such different meanings.

 I have been reading the book Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman.  I have been amazed at how familiar the content feels to many of my blog posts, especially the most recent set about responding to mistakes.

Along the way, Liz asks the question,

Do you create a tense work environment, or an intense work environment?

I was working with a crew on a large event, and we were cranking out the work.  Not only that, we were working well together, thinking for ourselves and having a good time along the way.  At a certain point, another team member joined in, someone with authority to make decisions on what we were doing.  The atmosphere completely changed in a matter of seconds.  Everyone stopped working, stopped thinking for themselves and stopped having fun.  I was pretty shocked at the difference one person can make on the environment, but there it was right in front of me.

As a leader in production, it is our job to get work done through a team.  The task to be done is too big for us to do it by ourselves, and so figuring out how to leverage people is a key skill that needs to be learned.

In this example, the leader was trying to create an intense work environment, one where we are getting tons of work done efficiently.  Instead, he was creating a tense work environment, one where people are afraid to make decisions for themselves.

In time, what I noticed was that people would end up just sitting around waiting to be told what to do.  Instead of diving in and engaging with the work that needed to get done, everyone just turned off their brain and let this leader tell them exactly what to do.

In the world of live production, things get tense.  No question.  However, do I need to add to the tension by making the people more tense?  

Does my leadership help people work with intensity or just be tense?




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