In this time of polarity, sides are drawn and listening is not always an honored skill. How would our workplace interactions be different, if all viewpoints were welcomed and valued?
For one, we’d have access to a variety and diversity of ideas. We would be more sensitive to and, possibly, understanding of each other. We could synthesize ideas and come up with more creative and sustainable approaches.
With all viewpoints welcome, perhaps we could change our world. ☺
photo: Yuma, pixabay.com
Wouldn’t it be great if your workplace were composed of kindred spirits? Sometimes you get lucky and your co-workers are compatible with your values and ways of working. Other times, kindred spirits are few and far between. When that is the case, the stage is set for dysfunction, judgment, conflict and dissatisfaction. It doesn’t have to be that way. Difference, variety and opposition can all make for a creative and high-performing organization. The key is to create an environment where each person can communicate and thrive.
What are the elements of such a workplace? Here are some. I’m sure you can identify others. Just think of what you need to communicate and thrive.
• Demonstrated respect for each person and their views
• Established methods for effective communication when there are disagreements or differences of opinion
• Acceptance and valuing of diversity
• Enough space for each person to contribute their best work
• Understanding that people need different environments, acknowledgement and resources to thrive
So, if you are leading or part of a team that is not composed of kindred spirits, celebrate the opportunities before you and create a workplace that encourages high performance and work satisfaction.
photo: ErikaMuth, pixabay.com
When I was in college, a professor said to me “You are mature to the extent to which you realize how your actions affect others.” That advice has stayed with me. How you communicate falls into this. Effective communication has to be heard the way you want it to be by the person you are communicating with. It is not just how you say it, but how they hear it.
How a person hears you is influenced by a myriad of factors – how they feel at that moment, their perspective on your subject, their personality and temperament and how what you are saying could impact them. So what do you do? Conduct a labyrinthian analysis of the emotions and perspective of the person you plan to communicate with? I don’t think so.
It really is about your ability to observe and understand. If you develop your emotional intelligence and keenly observe the reactions of others to what you communicate, you will develop the ability to communicate effectively with them.
We are not a uniform human race. Our diversity is our strength. The challenge lies in realizing this, getting out of our own box and relating effectively to the perspectives and experiences of those to whom we communicate.
photo: jesadaphorn, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Both communication and collaboration get a lot of attention when you work in teams. What happens when you bring them together – is there a particular way to communicate within teams that enhances collaboration? The nature of communication within a team is inherently different from one-on-one communication.
What could be guidelines for collaborative communication within your team? First would be the acknowledgement, by all team members, that they each have a voice that matters. That is a value that will generate respect for, and support the dignity of, each individual. Another may be identifying the methods you will use to assure that what needs to be communicated will be – possibly through staff meetings, reports, written and oral communication. Focus is needed on how the team communicates – choice of words, body language, emotional intelligence, what is communicated to whom. Communication should reflect respect for the diversity of the team – taking that into consideration, as each team member communicates.
Collaboration is something that takes effort- communication within a collaboration deserves that effort as well. How is the collaboration communication within your team?
photo: Apple’s Eyes Studio, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Teams need diversity to innovate, excel and succeed. Inherent in diversity are differences. As a manager, how do you handle differences and incompatibilities among team members and maintain diversity?
Diversity has many forms – among them personalities, culture, work styles. Differences do not lead inevitably to disagreement, but do need to be acknowledged and observed. Some teams have people who are outliers. They stand apart in skills, by choice, or otherwise and the distance can be significant.
Managing a team with one or more outliers calls first for assessing the value and origin of the outliers’ distance. Do their differences contribute or detract from the team? If they detract, challenges lie ahead for you – to minimize the detraction if the team member is worth keeping on. If the differences contribute, a good challenge lies ahead – to manage your team by honoring each individual and creating an environment for each team member to do the same. Malcolm Forbes offered this positive definition of diversity: Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.
Team outliers can make the difference between excellence and the commonplace. Inherent in diversity is difference, which makes it so valuable. Value your outliers. If you do not have one, bring some in and manage them well.