I lean in to discomfort
We had an assignment to read a book about the development of a team. I was super happy about this! Mainly because I think that it is very different for a team to discuss about something that all have the basic knowledge of than something that has a lot of variety of the knowledge on the subject among team members. Now it is certain that we all know at least the basics of teams.
I read Opening doors to teamwork and collaboration by Frederick A. Miller and Judith H. Katz. It explained the 4 keys that you need to change how your team works. I found it really opened my eyes to some of the simplest solutions to problems that all the teams have. One of the hardest problems for me is communication.
I have realized that I have gotten used to talking about things to people that share my kind of thinking or values or are interested in the same areas that I am. But now, when we have a team of 18 people who I didn’t choose myself, I understand how limited my communication skills are. Mostly it is shown in situations when I want to tell something to my team that I know or think in example of team work or entrepreneurship, or discuss about something that is not right or is uncomfortable. I don’t know how to discuss the things with my team members in a way that they can understand me or react in a way that would be suitable.
Mostly these situations happen in our training sessions. We often also have kind of a hurry and we just want to go through things as quickly as possible. This is not the point of dialogue and usually it just blocks us the way to get to the core of things. I think the best conversations we have had have been in situations that we didn’t plan but rather just saw a topic that is current to us and started to deal with it. But this type of dialogue is still rare and I would so much rather see things discussed in this way more often.
In the book the writers recommended to use an expression that is “I lean in to discomfort” when there are uncomfortable or challenging things that needs to be discussed. I think this is a great way of telling your team that they need to adjust themselves to really listen in a different way. If I had used this in these types of situations, I think I would’ve gotten a very different response because then we all would have been on the same page. No one knows how I see or feel things if I don’t tell it. I don’t think that people don’t want to listen but more because we don’t know how. Listening is one of the hardest skills to learn and that is why we really need to focus on it. It is so much easier to think that my point of view is superior and the other persons view is not that important. Or not even thinking that my perspective is better, but just not understanding where the other person comes from.
Communication is something I really need to develop. The solution to this problem is not that I discuss things only with people who already understand me and whom I can understand. Even though this type of reaction would be so much easier.. On the short hall. But definitely not as productive or constructive in the long hall. I have noticed that I have this habit of rambling! Oh, this is pretty awkward to notice of yourself, I can tell you. I really need to write things down first and make it crystal clear to myself before I bring it to my team. I have gotten feedback that I need to summarise what I have to say because it is pretty hard for other people to understand my point. It is not always easy to summarise things and at times it is better to bring out your thoughts that are imperfect. But in this case, I could also tell my team that my thoughts are not crystal clear yet but I still feel I need to share them with them. This would help them also to adjust to being able to receive something that is hard to understand. And it would leave me feeling better and not disappointed about the response.
There are a lot of ways to improve my skills in my team. This book challenged my way of thinking and I learnt how to build trust better also in the field of communication. It is easier to be a trustworthy person when it comes to action. But it is also very important to create trust also in communication because that is linked to how the team can utilize the skills and expertise that the team members have. If there is no safe place in the dialogue where the members of our team can bring in the knowledge they have, the team is not an enabler rather than a barrier for our team members.