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.
THE REASONS WE ARE DIFFERENT
There are many reasons why we have different points of views, but some basic
reasons have to do with the following:
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.
With four generations of employees between the ages of 22 and 70, our
point of reference and usage of communication tools are very different.
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.
BRIDGING THE GAP TOWARD ACCEPTANCE
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
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.
- Do not
assume that you know where the other person is coming from
Ask what they mean and then listen for the answer.
- 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!