The Team Player Report
While iMapMyTeam® delivers lots of narrative reports that build self-awareness and self-management, you certainly shouldn’t overlook the power of the grid-based Team Player Report. The four quadrants inform us about the way people work, what they need for support and the way stress will manifest itself when the support they require is absent.
I was reminded of this (again) last week as over two days I took three groups totaling about 70 people through their Team Player Reports. To help them better understand their information, I had them compete in teams by their ‘color’ in a game of Jenga.
Jenga is a reflection of how we work
After we determined which team won, I had participants read from their reports, the descriptions associated with their color and internal coaches observing the competition reported on what they saw over the course of 7 minutes of ‘friendly’ completion. In every case all participants saw their behavior played out in the game, and the coaches validated it.
Jenga is a reflection of how we work. If left to our own dominant behaviors we dive into a task very differently than our teammates from the other 3 quadrants. When those opposite behaviors are on the same team, it creates profound differences, gaps and tension that can carry great organizational costs. Especially if the leader does not recognize and effectively use those diverse perspectives.
When I asked the participants to stand if the color of their strengths was different than their internal need, more than 50% – sometimes as much as 75% of the room stood. The lesson; people need internal support that often looks very different than the way you see them behave.
Power in Differences
The four styles give leaders and their teams a common language for discussing similarities and differences in how people experience things and prefer to work. The groups in this exercise came to appreciate why certain times feel so challenging (that is, which perspectives and approaches are at odds), and they also begin to recognize the potential power in their differences.
Take every advantage to bring your opposites closer. Start with having them collaborate on a small project and then slowly take on bigger ones if it’s working out — create complementary partnerships on your teams. It’s also important to pull your own opposites closer to you to balance your tendencies as a leader.
When opposites work collectively, it takes a lot of work and a lot of understanding to keep it together. Do opposites attract? Maybe so, but the very traits that initially attract us are the ones that later become a source of annoyance. You don’t want to let that happen to your team or organization, the stakes are too high and you are in competition in a marketplace much more serious than a game of Jenga.