A key aspect of team building is learning to value differences, and it’s an art that is becoming more challenging in a society that is increasingly tribal and polarized.
Although media and news sources divide us into “us” and “them” to create conflict and increase engagement, this is not a good way to build teams!
We need to develop the skill of seeing differences as a strength, not a divisor. Valuing differences starts with understanding the value of our own strengths, because insecurity feeds polarization. Then we can also learn to recognize the individual strengths of those in our teams, and plan to maximize the benefits of each contribution to the team’s goals. Successful sports teams use this strategy, as do successful business teams.
A factor that we often overlook is the importance of time: snap decisions or responses in the moment are common in this social-media-driven age, but successful team building requires time to reflect on strengths (as well as weaknesses) and to develop strategies that help us win.
One reason why I love coaching is that none of us can see the whole picture of our teams, but a supportive outside observer can be invaluable in broadening our understanding as we take the time to value differences.
Here’s to all that becomes possible when every member of your team plays a unique part and fulfills his or her potential!