Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was on the same page as you? Life isn’t so simple, but it can be better understood.
The good thing is everyone in your team wants the same positive result. This gives you the basis for collaborative achievement. The challenge comes when the individual approach to getting the positive result comes from a different angle. It can cause conflict.
The key is to find common ground in the goals and acceptance of each other’s contributions to achieving the result. This brings rise to another challenge though – few people managers facilitate the fostering of relationships of understanding and acceptance. They tend to expect us simply to get on with it. To set aside or suppress what bothers us.
We all know that bottled up tensions need to go somewhere. At best it might come out as irritation which can be neutralized by outlets such as sporting activities, after work drinks, team bonding activities. But ongoing frustration at work can lead to a breakdown in working relationships, performance decline, anger at home, tiredness, even health crises. I'm not proud to say I speak from experience on this.
I’ve had high expectations of others. It caused me and them quite a lot of pain. I couldn’t understand why my colleagues appeared to have a low level of commitment to achieving what I believe was expected of us, what we were paid for. Or I couldn’t comfortably accept a report as written for me, I was tempted to rework the lot! Can you see the problem I was creating?
One thing I didn’t fully appreciate early enough in my career is the statement I made earlier;
everyone in your team wants the same positive result
We can build on this fact - so what to do?
1. Assume they’re wanting the positive result (occasionally you’ll find someone who doesn't care about the team result)
2. Get to know more about the individuals you’re working with. Observe what matters to them in their working effort, what they’re inspired or excited by, and what gets them tied up in knots. Observe their strengths, also their weaknesses. Be ready for them to surprise you with unexpected themes.
3. Try to engage that person in ways which excite them. Not every time, but sometimes. And play to their strengths.
4. Know that the best result will be achieved by all team members bringing their unique perspective or skills. So listen to and explore those perspectives. See how you can leverage them.
5. Engage with every person in your team – resist the natural tendency to withdraw from those you don’t relate to.
6. Be prepared to be open, even vulnerable, on some personal matters. Perhaps at after work drinks or team bonding. Surprising, but there is immense power in vulnerability.
Once you’ve realised everyone is on the same page then you can work on improving your understanding in an ongoing and developing manner. It leads to acceptance and drawing everyone into your working sphere of influence.
And finally, I’d like to acknowledge my partners Dr Myke Merrill and Mike Wilson for their patient teaching of the intricacies of interpersonal relationships. The guys know all there is to know about inter-relational dynamics, it’s fascinating information.
We three have created Emotional Agility The Course for employees in the corporate world. If you’re interested here’s the link.