What storytelling teaches about team work

11 Jun

With each unique individual comes a unique perspective and way of working.  There can be a  creative thinker, a pragmatic worker, a support giver, a strategist, etc., and they all have different functions when working within a group. That’s fine. But what happens when you can’t communicate with a creative thinker, who refuses to be practical? Or there’s no reasoning with those detail-focused people, who can’t see the bigger picture? And these unique individuals suddenly become obstacles for one another while working within that group.

Different cogs make the machine work.

This is an easy-to-fix problem. When working with others, it’s more about your communication than their personality-type. Learn how to communicate in their style, and you’ve got it made.

Lisa Millar has tackled this challenge during her coaching sessions within Sister Leadership, and she’s emerged with an interesting strategy for communicating effectively. As controller for several companies, she challenged on a daily basis to express ideas to a variety of people (clients, co-workers, government officials, owners, etc.). Her key: “Really being able to talk and hear people. In the same way you try to connect with people who are speaking, you can hear what they are trying to say. It’s powerful.”

For instance, “Some people are about options, they have options and they can think of different ways to do things, while others are very procedural. We’re all a mix, but we tend to learn more one way or another. But let’s say I’m working with someone who is very procedural – they are typically not quick to change. If I can paint this vivid, wonderful picture of what things will be like once we’ve made this shift, you’ll find people can buy into that – and then they’ll contribute, which is what everybody wants.”

Your take away: Firstly you need to realize your personal strategies and communication preferences. (e.g. Am I literal, or do I prefer to work with abstract concepts?) Once you are aware of yourself, you can begin to transfer that awareness to the habits of others. Like a puzzle piece, there are ways that contrasting communication styles fit together (like Lisa’s story above) and other approaches where they do not align.

Your second take away: Adapting your style of communication to another person will make you the ultimate group member. Lisa used her own ability as a storyteller to plot out the finer details for others who are more detailed focused. And voilà, they found a way to move forward.

Pulling from the NLP perspective, we’re going to show you in upcoming posts how to identify different communication styles, and strategies you can implement to amend your approach to fit the needs of others. Like we learned earlier regarding debt collection, getting great results often means acknowledging the other person’s needs.

Next week we’ll continue with an easy trick Lisa learned about communication styles. Stay tuned and see you then.

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her lessons of resilience and perseverance, fighting back and changing perception to others. She aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook. Welcome to the Sister Leadership community!

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