Accepting Our Differences AND Still Building an Effective Team


Imagine a world where everyone gets along.
A world where everyone thinks and acts alike. There is no conflict because you
always agree with your boss and co-workers and vice versa. Does this sound like
nirvana? Or does it sound…well…boring?

The truth of the matter is, we experience
our greatest ideas and growth when conflict and differing points of views are
taken into consideration and acted on. We only grow in teamwork when there is discord,
followed by civil resolution.

However, most individuals in the workplace
dislike a colleague who thinks and acts differently, instead of embracing that
person. They take someone’s individuality as an affront to their own. They let
their ego get in the way and create even greater discord, which leads to a
divide where compromise is never attained.

Today’s blog is
going to focus on the reasons we are different, and what we can do to bridge
the gap towards acceptance.

There are many reasons why we have different points of views, but some basic
reasons have to do with the following:

  • Background
    How and where we were raised. Poor or rich, nuclear family or single
    parent and what part of the country we grew up in all play into how we
  • Skill level
    Some co-workers are proficient
    with computers and smartphones, while others struggle to maintain their
    email account or do not own a cell phone.
  • Decision-making process
    Some of your teammates are going to make quick decisions without
    consulting anyone. Others will want to mull over any decision by talking
    to several individuals.
  • Age
    With four generations of employees between the ages of 22 and 70, our
    point of reference and usage of communication tools are very different.
  • Gender
    Men and women usually process things differently, and as a general rule,
    women are more collaborative and sensitive.
  • Culture & Ethnicity
    Every culture has its own customs and ways of expressing yourself. As the
    world turns global, it would behoove you to learn more about this.

With so many differences, it is amazing that we get anything accomplished,
right? Wrong! Because effective teams embrace differences and do the following:

  • Take on
    a curious attitude
  • Explores
    them instead of chiding them

    Take your ego out of the equation and ask questions about where someone
    else is coming from. By learning more about him or her, you might find
    that you have more in common than you ever thought possible. Keep asking
    questions, even when there is no conflict to resolve.
  • Eliminate
  • Do not
    assume that you know where the other person is coming from

    Ask what they mean and then listen for the answer.
  • Stay
  • Maintain your focus and objectivity
    Even if the conversation becomes uncomfortable, stay focused on your
    co-workers, until you reach a compromise or resolution.

If your team can do the things listed
above, each person will broaden his or her horizons, mature and gain new
insights about each other and the world.

Fun Team Building, based in Atlanta, Ga.,
is a national corporate and teacher team building organization. Give owner
Larry Lipman a call at 770-333-3303 to learn more about the team building
activities they have to offer!

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