What role do you take during meetings? Will you be the first person to collaborate? Or do you tend to dominate team meetings?
More importantly, how do your instincts and actions enhance or impede not only the rest of your team’s mindset? But also their subsequent actions as well as project outcomes.
Does your team think it is time for an intervention, together?
First, you can tell whether you collaborate or dominate team meetings by observing yourself.
Interesting things happen during meetings when you decide to observe yourself. First, you stop talking. And perhaps you stop talking a lot. Second, you start observing the actions of other team members: body language, levels of interaction, preparation, areas of expertise. Most importantly, you focus on listening to what everyone else is saying instead of anticipating your turn to speak.
As a result, you impact your own definition of what active collaboration looks like and sounds like. Consider that the best way of collaborating can be letting others do the collaboration: initially and subsequently. As a result, your greatest contribution comes from respecting everyone else’s voices. You still participate, but your contributions and performance are not determined by the amount of time you spend talking.
Even if you are the selected (or self-appointed) leader of the pack, assess whether your preferred modus operandi is dominance or inclusion.
Your team represents a subset of internal customers, working on behalf of better serving clients together. As a leader, do you tend to give orders on what actions to be taken? Or are you comfortable facilitating team decision-making and professional development for team members?
At times, you become part of a thrown-together team. Consider that the rest of the team feels the same way. But there you are, together, feeling like you are being collectively thrown at a problem. Consequently, no one wants to step in and step up and appoint themselves a leader. So, what role do you typically assume at that point? Are you the de facto self-appointed leader for way too many teams? And why is this the case, over and over again? Is your natural preference to dominate rather than collaborate?
Finally, silence is golden. Leverage that silence because it speaks volumes about the real issues to be addressed and solved.
In working with leaders and teams on professional innovation and strategic business and human capital value, I spend a lot of time observing teams. Some team members turn into spontaneous “unconscious dominators” when faced with silence, or no response to a question.
Remember that quote, “nature abhors a vacuum,” first introduced by Aristotle? When you are seated around the table wrestling with complex issues requiring courage and critical thinking skills, you will not have all the answers. In fact, you may not even have some of the answers. Silence means people are thinking, chewing on a concept, exploring various solutions.
When I facilitate, I give people permission to not know the right answer, so they avoid jumping in and talking just to talk. You can do the same. Instead of jumping in there and talking just to fill the void with sound, leverage the silence to ideate. Possibly for the first time. To get to where you really need to go. Together. One millimeter at a time.
Wrestling with how to collaborate more innovatively with colleagues and clients? Making a few, one millimeter mindset changes can liberate you from habits and mindset which confine rather than expand your cross-functional leadership trajectory. Contact me here. Let’s get started!
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Searching for a one-on-one catalyst to get you unstuck? Engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person. Contact me here.
Babette Ten Haken | Change Catalyst | Purpose-Driven Professional Innovation | Cross-Functional Team Leadership | Trust-Based Client Retention | In Person & Virtual Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Author |
Babette Ten Haken is a refreshingly extroverted STEM professional and skeptical thinker focused on intentional innovation. She helps people, teams and organizations make hard calls when designing products, services, careers and cultures. These are not easy conversations to have. Her ability to translate cross-functional conversations between left-brain and right-brain thinkers provides different pathways for behavior, response, insight and collaboration. Think of the strategic business and human capital value of moving beyond avoidance or group-think, together. Instead, let your creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills co-develop together, one millimeter at a time. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here.