Commonalities and Differences

What is unavoidable — in Teams we work with people.

And we work also with people outside the Team.  But let’s discuss that topic in another post.

The next obvious thing to say is that people are complicated, each person by herself or himself, and in a Team of seven then, we get a lot of complexity.

Some of that complexity we can talk about as commonalities and differences.

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What we want is an effective team.  A more effective Team.  And also a (mostly) happy team.

So, what does this imply?

To me, and I think experience bears this out, we want the Team to jell.  We want forming, storming, norming, and performing.

A lot of this is at the interpersonal level.

On a given day, a person is attracted by commonalities.

Another day, the same person is attracted by differences.

Another day, the person finds commonalities unappealing.

Another day, the person may find differences unappealing.

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So, my simple suggestion.

Get to know each person in the Team as if they were a real person.

I say it that way as a kind of joke, a bit sarcastic.

In part because some people in technology teams are so enamored by technology, that they almost ignore the real people.

In part because a lot of us are unused to other people, having been tucked away by Covid for so long. It may feel strange at first.  But you will survive, it won’t be that hard, and you will actually mostly start to enjoy it.

This working together, this collaboration is serious and important.  And also mostly fun.

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So, get to know each person in the Team.  In lots of ways.

Not just who the person is at work, but who they are outside work.  The hobbies, interests, family, dreams, and experiences.

If you do, you probably find yourself seeing that person in a different way.  You will say hello with a different feeling.

You will listen more patiently, more compassionately.

Over time, if others also do this, I would expect effective collaboration to increase.

But, maybe more important, the people in the Team start to like each other more.

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We are talking about people.

So, there is no such thing as a sure method for making things happen.  Especially between two or more people.

But I still recommend: get to know each person in the Team as a regular person.  Slowly perhaps, don’t rush it.  As much as you can, as much as they will let you.  And not too much or too fast.  We are only work friends, after all.  Not too quickly.  But over some time.

Share who you are a bit more.  Ask the other person to share a bit more.

One reason: It will make work more enjoyable.

Another reason: It’s just the right thing to do.  Each of your teammates is kind of interesting, once you get to know them a bit.

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I hope these conversations will help you.

And these comments help you.

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