Chip Shots - When Work Styles Differ

Here at Lead Change Group, we know that problems are most effectively solved when individuals come together to meld ideas, energies, and approaches.

To use a golf analogy, not every shot is a long drive. Many times, golfers have to take a chip shot to move the ball along for a short distance, with incisive accuracy.

If you are new to the Chip Shots green, welcome. In our Chip Shots feature, our Leading Voices are invited to provide brief insights into a leadership-related topic.

To learn more, spend some time browsing the entire Chip Shots Series.

Today’s Question

Have you ever been in a situation where people of opposing styles found a way to work productively together? What made things change for the better?

Becky Robinson says: I've loved working with Carrie Koens, a self-proclaimed introvert. I've learned to allow her time to process questions and think through things - and I've adapted to providing written information in advance of calls.

David Dye responds: My most productive team experiences have been with people of opposing styles and differing strengths who came together to use their different abilities for a common goal. To make it work, the team leader needs to acknowledge those differences, emphasize the benefit when different strengths and perspectives are in play, and ensure that people’s tasks match their styles. When different styles begin to conflict, have a conversation about the goals in that particular situation and which style will best serve that specific goal.

Jon Mertz answers: Purpose is the difference-maker when it comes to people with oppositive styles working together. If opposing styles cannot agree to what the higher purpose is and if the purpose cannot take precedence over style, then productivity will never be gained. Self-centeredness will always defeat productivity and meaningful results, just as committed focus to purpose will always win. More often, purpose will win. The reality is, however, self-centeredness is hard to crack at times.

Karin Hurt provided a great thought:

Mike Henry wrote: Many projects I've worked on over the years have had people with opposing styles. The variety adds depth, diversity and strength. What makes this work is some humility, an appreciation of the others and their differences, and a commitment to the overall goal. In every case one team member proposed cooperation for the goal and once embraced by the team members, progress became easy.

Will Lukang shares: When working with a new manager, I always do the due diligence to learn and understand the person's work preference.  I make sure to schedule a one-on-one and ask questions on the person's preference.  I believe that it is my job to adjust to my manager's style and make my manager look good.

Thank you Becky, David, Jon, Karin, Mike, and Will for taking a shot at this question.

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