Our February focus is on being the best teammate that you can be. One key to being a great teammate is found in your ability to see other teammates’ perspectives, especially when it comes to your contribution, both positively and negatively. In our last post, we asked you to evaluate yourself through the context of one of your coworkers. The critical questions within the five-point model for teamwork are a great start to self-reflection.
This exercise is powerful but lasting change requires us to either break habits or form new ones. We need to take action to solidify what we believe into how we behave. Our three-minute challenges create opportunities for you to demonstrate your new understanding of leadership through practice. The more we practice the skills we desire, the more likely it is that they’ll become habits.
Learning to “see” from someone else’s perspective is hard. In the fast-moving environment in which we work, just slowing down long enough to think in your own mind is difficult. That said, it’s a necessary practice if you want to be a more effective teammate. The good news is that the rewards gained far outweigh the cost of time. To develop this perspective, take The Three Minute Challenge below, and let us know how you do.
Meetings can be the bain of our existence, but done well and firing on all five of the teamwork model’s points, they’re a place of extreme productivity. People come prepared, collaboration is easy, synergy occurs, and trust is abundant. When this happens, it’s usually because everyone is able to accept and develop multiple perspectives, even if they are unpopular or challenging. Notice, though, that on every great team, there’s always clear expectations and a “moderator”–someone who is willing to make sure that time and space gets used productively. Next time you’re at a meeting, and no one seems to be moderating, try taking these steps toward a better personal contribution to the team as their moderator:
- As a moderator, your job is to ensure that everyone participates. We all know that some people consume more airtime than others. And it doesn’t have to be your meeting to act as a moderator. The first step is not to try too hard to squelch the airtime consumers, but to provide space for the voices of the reluctant talkers. Take pause and ask others to say what they’re thinking. The insertion of their perspective will add value to the meeting, and your invitation to do so makes you a great teammate.
- Clarify misconceptions and complex concepts. At meetings, there are always people with more knowledge and stronger subject matter expertise. This may result in them processing the topic faster and using jargon. As the moderator, take pause to summarize what is being said and ask if anyone needs further clarification. Don’t be shy about using a friendly interruption or two. It will make for a better meeting when everyone is on the same page.
- Don’t forget to contribute more than just being the moderator. Often, when leaders take on the role of moderating, they can get caught up in “running” the meeting. That’s not what we’re suggesting. Rather, just using Steps 1 and 2 above allow you to add value to your team in addition to providing your own perspective. You’re creating space not only for multiple points-of-view from the team but also your own.
Technical Tip: Note that moderating is important, but self-moderating is more important than anything. Don’t moderate others until you are good at moderating yourself, especially your airtime. One tip that we like to use is to balance talking and listening by using a physical item. Next time you’re in a meeting, pick up your pen whenever you’re not speaking (use it for writing or just have it in-hand), and set it down when you speak. This will provide a gauge for your airtime so that you can be the best teammate possible.
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