I read two very interesting theories yesterday which I could connect to our Team Building Workshops. The first one was on the learning cycle and the learning styles that we all have. As per the theory, commonly known as the Kolb’s Learning Cycle and Kolb’s Learning Styles respectively, we all have a typical learning cycle that we tend to follow and should follow for maximum learning. We go through a particular experience, we then like to observe what happened in the experience, reflect on it, draw our conclusions from it and then go ahead and test our conclusions.
So if I was to try to learn a skill at work, say how to handle irate customers how I would do it is:
- Experience: I first interact with an irate customer to know what happens in such a case
- Observation and Reflection: I recollect what happened in the interaction and try to reflect on various aspects like how the conversation went, what were the words and feelings exchanged, how I reacted or responded to what the customer said, etc.
- Conceptualisation: I now start drawing my conclusions as to what I need to do to handle the irate customer well or better like take a deep breath and allow the customer to vent while he is angry instead of defending myself
- Testing: I now go and try my conclusions on another irate customer to see if they are correct
The testing phase then gives rise to a new set of experiences and the cycle continues.
David Kolb goes on to say that although we all follow the same learning cycle, yet we all have different learning styles. So while somebody might prefer the observation and reflection part, others might learn more by testing and actually doing things.
The other theory I read was on how all of us use different areas of our brains for performing different functions. So although we all have similar faculties in the brain which can perform similar functions, the use of some come naturally to us whereas others just don’t. So while some of us may use our analytical areas more, others may use their intuitive faculties more. Now those using the analytical areas can also use the intuitive areas with practice, but it may be a strain as it’s not something that come naturally to them.
Another interesting thing that I found in this theory is that we like being around people who use similar brain parts to ourselves and normally become friends with such people. On the other hand, we are naturally attracted to those who use complementary brain parts to ours and choose such people as a mate as they tend to complete us as cover up our so called weaknesses.
So if you look at both theories, they give us great insights into teams. They both tell us that teams being made up of humans always have a common factor in them. They have similar ways of learning as well as similar brain functions. In that sense every team has a common thread running through it.
However, if you go a little deeper you will realise that teams also have diversity. They are made up of different people who differ in the way they like to learn and differ in the way that they make use of their brain functionalities.
So then is the commonality good or is the diversity good for a team? Am sure you all have the answer to this one and you will tell me that it’s really a no brainer! Both are good, the common pieces keep us bonded together as a single unit and the diversity helps us in performing a variety of functions which each team member excels in. Right?
My question to you is that although we all know this and say it, is it really something that we believe and practice? Is it something that really comes from our core? Do we really appreciate diversity?
The fact is that most of us are unfortunately unable to appreciate it although we may try very hard too! Why, because of an innate need to be accepted. Have you ever thought of why we like people who are similar to us? It’s because when someone is similar, it somewhere confirms to us that we are also alright which in turn makes us feel more accepted.
If you look at it the other way also, you will realise that we don’t like things which are different from us. Most of the conflicts in the world occur because of this. So we don’t like people who are of a different religion or from a different country or city. The conflicts that we have in office are also mostly because of different opinions and different personalities.
So is there some way to appreciate these differences then? Join our team building workshops and we will happily show you the way to have a bonded yet diversity appreciating team.
Visit our website http://theyellowspot.info to learn what skills your team members have and how you can leverage them.