I’m resistant to change and I don’t like to be told what to do. I don’t think I’m unusual in this way. And so when my wife, Julie, told me I “needed” to move my clothes from bins in our bedroom to a dresser in another room, I resisted and quietly did nothing! About a week later, as I was complaining about not being able to reach my clothes without having to move my nightstand and pull out a bin, Julie said the following, “I really think you’d be happy if you used that dresser in the spare room. I think you’d like it and you’d find it easier to get your clothes when you need them.” Here’s what I heard, “happy”, “easier”, “like it”. I reacted so differently from when I was first told I “needed” to move. In fact I’m now looking forward to doing so, and this weekend I’m moving my clothes. While I’m still not 100% convinced I’ll like using the dresser, I’m going to give it a try because Julie got me to buy-in to the potential benefits. And now I’m thinking – Has Julie been reading up on my team building information? Or did she just instinctively realize the best way to motivate me. I’m guessing she just knows from experience I don’t like change, and so she found a way to get me to buy-in to the possibility that the reward of change would be greater than the risk.
When you talk with your employees, co-workers or family members, are you approaching them as fellow team members or are you giving orders? The next time you have something you think you “need” someone else to do, think about the language you’ll use to communicate your intentions. You can practice every day team building by being intentional with your language. Start by coming up with a simple thing you’d like to change, either at work or at home. Then think hard about how you’d want to be approached about making that change. Rehearse a few different ways of making your request. Try saying it out loud and see how you react to your own communication style; you might be surprised!
Organized team building programs are great catalysts for enhancing communication, but they are only catalysts. Your corporate or personal culture won’t change for long if you don’t follow up on your team building event with every day practice.
Every Day Team Building
- Think about how you’d want to be asked to change something at work or home
- Think about ‘why’ you’re asking someone to do something – They may ask you why
- Think about how you believe the other person likes to be communicated with
- Practice out loud and be honest about how you’d react if asked
- Communicate the positive potential for change and present your request as a choice (if at all possible)
- Start small and build trust
I hope you’ll share your experiences with every day team building. How’s it working for you?