Several years ago I recognized a common phenomenon when working with teams. It would begin like this: I would meet with the manager of the team to assess needs and analyze team dynamics prior to designing a training program or consulting project. The manager would proceed to tell me about two individuals (sometimes more) who do not get along. Many times these two individuals were well regarded by their co-workers, yet due to their differences they had trouble working together. Often these two would work “around” each other rather than “with” each other. Sometimes others would take sides, creating a “posse” effect. In short, this pair’s lack of good relations diminished individual and team productivity.
What to do? One approach is to help these individuals realize that the very differences they don’t like are ones they actually need. Each of them can fill the other’s gaps.
As an example… A detail-oriented person may get frustrated with the lack of details their co-worker provides, while the co-worker may have the capacity to see the big picture and offer creative solutions. Similarly the big picture thinker needs the detail person for an excellent end-product. In our programs, we invite opposites to think of themselves as “Power Partners.” Working together, these two individuals make a powerful partnership team.
How can we identify the power of strength differences and then value the differences? One proven effective behavior style tool is called DISC. Our company feels so strongly about the success of using this tool that I became certified in DISC, which evaluates work styles and helps relational productivity in teams. In 2007, certain clients began requesting that I train them to use this tool themselves. Because of their size, it was cost effective to have internal expertise using this valuable tool. In the last few years I have several times conducted a popular two-day train-the-trainer certification program through NCHRA (Northern California Human Resources).
Who is your power partner?