The problem for me this week arises from a revelation from last week (Peter’s feedback on my LJ and my own personal reflection on events); figuring out how to change my behaviour in teams such that I don’t inhibit others (e.g. my MikesBikes team) from thinking for themselves.
Realising that this was truly the case – I can reflect several other situations where it has happened – was quite unsettling in itself. It changed my view of myself because I hadn’t previously seen it in me – which is scary, because I’ve come to think that I’m aware of who I am. Being told that I have “room to improve” (to put it nicely) creates self-doubt because I think what else is there that I think I am is not actually what I am? But I’ve realised that this might constantly be the case; I am changing and I don’t even know it; it’s making sure that I’m changing to where I want to be that is the issue.
I talked to my dad about how to stop myself from hindering the team (dad’s good at this sort of thing J) and he asked me how I normally talk with my team. I said that we normally will be discussing a decision, and I’ll say what I think and refer to some spreadsheets if I’ve done some research, and then we’ll kind of discuss that and everyone will have input. He made me realise that by me having input at the beginning, I’m limiting everyone else’s thinking to just mine, because they don’t have a chance to come up with their own solutions but just evaluate mine. So he suggested that I take a step back, controlling my input.
I thought about this, and proposed to my CEO that I do the following (she had read my journal and we’d discussed it a bit): I would, rather than presenting my ideas first (perhaps regarding a particular decision), listen to everyone’s ideas first. Then, I would comment with things like – “have you thought about the effect of X on Y?” or “what if you changed A to achieve B instead – would that be better or worse?” So my input would be at the end (and definitely based on others’ inputs), and that way everyone would have a chance to think so that our team could truly become a real, mutually accountable team (Katzenbach & Smith, 1992). My CEO’s response was that yes, she thought this was a good idea, but she didn’t think that me not giving any "quantitative” input was a good idea – they valued my numerical skill. I agreed with this – I need to get a balance of not backing off completely, but not taking charge of everything.
This week’s group meeting was kind of a bit hectic though, so I can’t really say if I’ve successfully started to change me. I notice that in the rush I forget most of this; I get caught up with the game and I’ll have to remember to control my input especially in these times.
I don’t think that there’s a simple, one-time-action solution for this, but rather, it’s a tweaking/trial that I’ll have to watch. Completing Daudelin’s (1996) learning cycle may take some time for this problem.
Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36—48
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3--27