WHAT HAS THE HOME WORKING REVOLUTION TAUGHT US ABOUT TEAM DYNAMICS?
The “work from home” revolution has provided interesting food for thought for leaders who want to create a team dynamic that is truly fair and inclusive.
According to Anna Brech from Stylist: The work from home revolution has slowed the frenetic pace of office life for people who “listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.”
She goes on to explain that the way many teams have operated in “normal” times has made it easier for those with extraverted preferences to shine and be regarded as confident, efficient team players or leaders. Those with introverted preferences have often found it more difficult to be at their best and their quietness and need for space are often misunderstood.
Surely the question is, how do we get the best of both worlds and foster a team environment that caters for different preferences, giving people enough freedom and choice to create the conditions for themselves where they can thrive.
Below are some top tips for leaders on how to do this.
Take time to understand your team members. Engage with them one on one basis and ensure the conversation goes beyond the day to day tasks. For example, ask them about their hopes, frustrations, what they find most challenging, and what they are most proud of.
Avoid allowing meetings (especially on zoom) to be dominated by the same people. Let your team members know in advance what you are expecting from the meeting and how they can contribute, so that those who like to reflect first can get their thoughts in order before the meeting.
Structure the meeting so that each person has some protected time to air their thoughts uninterrupted. If the meeting is large, break into smaller groups of no more than 3-4 to do this. This can be combined with free-flowing discussion also.
Be aware of unconscious biases that might be operating. Do you assume those who are introverted are not team players/team leaders? Do you assume they wont be as efficient? Do you assume they are less confident? Is there any real evidence or basis for these judgements?
Encourage your team members to contract with each other on what they need from each other to be at their best. Explore how different behaviours or ways of operating may be misconstrued or misunderstood. Start to establish where adaptability and flexibility might be needed from each of the team members to create a positive working environment for all.
Provide opportunities and space for extraverted preferences to be exercised through choice e.g. working hubs and virtual social events.
For help and support on creating a team culture where everyone can thrive, contact [email protected]