Doorway to Collaboration: Shadow and Light


From our Guest Blogger, Lucy Shenouda

What’s the way to a team’s heart? Do teams have heart?! Yes!

We strongly believe that a team has all of a human’s vital organs, a system in its own right. In particular, a team has a personality and identity of its own. Each member of the team brings their perspectives, voices, actions to bear to impact the entire organization, at all levels. By virtue of being a system in its right, a team brings its own shadow and light. The up days, down days. The mood swings, challenges and the revelations and inspirations. The full range!

In a busy, thriving organization, a team with heart and strong will comes with both shadow and light. What does this mean? It means a lot of things. For us, it means range, a spectrum of possibilities that sparks heated and breakthrough conversations.

A team who’s relationship with shadow and light is healthy and strong allows for real conversations. Conversations that both challenge the status quo and honors tradition, from which perspectives, voices and actions allow for novel ideas and new information to enter the conversation.

Aptly said by Debbie Ford in “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers”:

“We can’t have the full experience of the light without knowing the dark. The dark side is the gatekeeper to true freedom. Each of us must be willing to continually explore and expose this aspect of self. Whether you like it or not, if you’re human, you have a shadow…The saintly and the cynical, the divine and the diabolical, the courageous and the cowardly: all these aspects lie dormant in us and will act out if they are not recognized and integrated into our psyche.”

The same goes for teams. With the full range of light and dark, the doorway to collaboration opens for effective teams to have space to innovate, problem-solve and create valued contributions to an organizations goals. There is a gift, signal and message in the shadow side that empowers and changes teams. It humanizes and transforms organizations.

So, what’s the way to a team’s heart?

We believe it’s to listen for all the voices, signals, perspectives – particularly the quiet and isolated ones. Explore the full spectrum – the light and the dark, the rational and the emotional, the mind, heart and gut. In doing so, hidden inspirations, insights and creativity are called forth in full spectrum, filling the doorway, the room and the entire organization with much needed freedom to live in light and in shadow.

Originally posted on our Relationship Systems Intelligence blog in August, 2015.


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