As with any team, there’s always some kind of dynamic to be aware of as well as individual characteristics that tend to stand out. From time to time, this can snowball, leading to alliances being formed and separate conversations. Plus, many other unhealthy splitting behaviours taking place. All because not everyone shares the same values or way of working; in the end, people tend to hone in on particular people and sometimes, unintentionally, exclude others. However, there’s obviously a huge problem with this, which is why with every team that I’m a part of, I like to view people as characters from Winnie-The-Pooh! 🙂
Seriously!! By doing this, all of those behaviours that once frustrated me, they suddenly become bearable. If anything, I’m slightly envious! As those once annoying people can view the team from an angle that I’m not able and what could be deemed as negative characteristics are suddenly positive qualities. For example, the person in the room who’s friendly and gets along with everyone but struggles to multi-task; that would be Pooh-Bear. The quiet and anxious team member is Piglet; whereas the annoyingly angry and impatient person is now the adorable Rabbit, where if you find the time to look, has a good heart deep down inside. Then there’s Eeyore, the negative and somber team member that works much slower than everyone else even despite all the enthusiasm and encouragement given off by Tigger. Plus, not forgetting Kanga with the caring and warmhearted calmness that is brought to the team followed by Owl who doesn’t like to make small talk but is extremely bright and academic.
So naturally within a team, your Piglets and Rabbits would in no way get along; plus, due to the difference in thinking style, your Owls and Pooh Bears would be unable to work at the same pace. But your Kangas would be able to settle the differences in a non-threatening way and show patience and encouragement for the likes of Eeyore; whilst gently focusing the enthusiasm of Tigger whilst still allowing the Tigger’s to bounce around the room with all of their energy and enthusiam.
I’m sure when making these comparisons; people would love to have an excitable Tigger or lovable Pooh Bear in their team. But if a team was full of Tigger’s, nothing would get finished as they would have no Owl to keep them focused on the task in hand. On the same token, a room full of Pooh Bears may not completely think things through leading to lots of difficulties, which is why we need our Eeyore’s and Rabbits to provide the reality check, and Kangas to keep the peace when people hear something that they don’t like. Then of course, a team that contains just Piglets, Rabbits or Eeyore’s would be unable to get the ball rolling because they would either be too anxious, unmotivated or focus too much on the negatives. Likewise, a team full of Owls would spend the day theorising in meetings and a team full of Pooh Bears and Tigger’s would have lots of laughter and fun but never get anything done.
On that note, when working in teams, it’s safe to say that people don’t stick with one particular character trait. Sometimes we can be a bit of an Eeyore and on occasions a bit of Tigger or Pooh Bear. But it’s essential to have this mix of characters within a team to ensure a balance is maintained. And by looking at your team members through the eyes of A. A. Milne, those personality clashes and differences of opinion, suddenly become adorable and easy to manage.