Teamwork & Team Building: Push or Pull?


Question: What does a boat launch and tree removal process have in common?

Answer: They work best in a push-pull environment.

Think about it…if you pushed a very heavy boat out into the water without having a team pulling on it from the front it would take you loads of time and possibly never happen because you would be backend loaded. In addition, if you tried to chop down a large tree with a two-person saw, just pushing or just pulling the blade through the tree trunk would not work.

Push-pull creates balance in nature as much as it does in the work environment.

Pushing is all about helping, assisting and . Pulling is about asking for help and support. 

The give and take. Yin and yang.

But what are the benefits of having this in your work environment?

The truth of the matter is if we were all of the same mindset, life and work would be boring and unproductive. High performing teams welcome a balance between their own thoughts and those of others. They allow for breakthrough ideas because someone is coming at the same problem through a different lens. And ultimately if all individual ideas are listened to equally, it builds trust between team members.

What are the other benefits of a push-pull work environment?

  1. You learn to appreciate the different ways things get done.Have you ever tried to complete a difficult task and someone comes in and does that activity with ease? Or has a new way? If you just “go with the flow” it will ease your workload, not increase it, because someone always has a faster, easier and more productive way to accomplish the task.
  2. You become a better listener.If someone is asking for your help or wants to share a new idea, you will start to listen to what they really want and their vision of how something will be accomplished. By pushing back and asking for clarification, your team will start to develop and cultivate great ideas.
  3.  You start to read the signals. Since we communicate 93% of what we think through our body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, if you are on a team where every opinion counts, you will start to read what participants really feel and think. Pull out their feelings and thoughts and push them to share those thoughts with the entire group.
  4. You become more productive.Think of a tug of war contest or conversely, a rock concert. If everone is pulling away from each other or everyone is pushing, where is the balance? When one person pushes and another pulls, you become much more productive in achieving the goal.
  5. You become proactive instead of reactive.When trust is built and you know everyone on the team has your back, problems and opportunities can be met proactively because all the cards are on the table. No one is holding back. Your team is allowed to prepare for whatever might come your way and not be in the mode of constantly putting out fires.

Fun Team Building based in Atlanta, Georgia can help your team build a push-pull mentality! Give Chief Fun Officer, Larry Lipman, a call at 770-333-3303 to get the process started!

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