Written by Heather Wood
Kermit the Frog once said “It’s not easy being green.” Boy is that ever the truth! In a corporate setting it can be difficult to feel effective and impactful when you perceive yourself to have a different style than your colleagues. You’re all in the same organization, on the same teams, in the same meetings and, share similar goals. However, your approach to work and the level of detail you need to be successful may be strikingly different than your counterparts. Let’s look at an example.
Sally works on a high profile project team with three colleagues, Greg, Natasha and Sunil. Together they are managed by Evelyn. Each Monday morning, Evelyn runs a team meeting to review the group’s accomplishments, outstanding tasks and, assign new responsibilities. Every Monday Sally dreads this gathering. The meetings can sometimes last for 90 minutes – 30 minutes longer than scheduled! Each person is expected to provide a verbal status report and actively solicit input from the rest of the group. Assumptions are challenged and ideas are brainstormed. Evelyn, Greg, Natasha and Sunil appear energized by the process! For Sally, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. She is starting to question whether this particular team is the right fit for her.
Well, it may or may not be. Sally brings a lot of value to the team. So, before she makes any drastic decisions or moves, she needs to look at what’s going on. She is a confident worker who is sure of herself and her abilities. When Sally receives a new assignment from Evelyn, she may ask a question or two but in general, she gets what she needs and runs with the rest. Sally had always assumed others are like her –comfortable working with little guidance or input. The other individuals on the team appear to need the exact opposite. They like to hash things out, bring up alternatives, examine progress in detail, ask questions and, ask questions on the questions! This frustrates Sally to no end. But, who is right? They all are.
Everyone has an approach to work that suits them perfectly. Personally, I need time to process information before I can act. Unlike Sally, I do need details and the opportunity to ask clarifying questions so I’m secure in the expectations others have of me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a chatty meeting and love to have fun! But, if I’m to be held accountable for something, I need what I need! Perhaps the other people on Sally’s team operate in a similar fashion. Being the “odd man out” can feel alienating to anyone. So, what’s a team member to do? Talk about your differences – together! (were you really thinking I would say something else?!) Find out who needs what and in what mode. Then, agree to work differently. It may be a bit challenging but, keep the end result in focus – a happier, more cohesive team.
If you or your team could benefit from identifying differences in style and want to know what you can do about it, we can show you how through the use of our talent analytics. We can help you work through your differences and realize, it’s okay to be green. In fact, it’s welcome!