Self-organising teams: catching yourself judging
Going to our team meeting yesterday, I was looking forward to it. We are a self-organising team, setting our own strategy and governance (see Richard Hackman’s model on Self-Organising Teams). We are all highly engaged, working together to achieve a common purpose.
It is a myth that self-organising teams don’t need a facilitator to hold the space and build a container. Therefore we have a rotating facilitator role that each one of us takes up per meeting.
Ticking all the boxes right?
So why did it feel so difficult? One moment I feel like I am falling asleep and nothing moves forward, the next we’re in a high engaging discussion, I am feeling good and someone states this is too stressful and we need a break. I think we are all on the same page but one member of the team keeps going on how the purpose is still not clear. I find myself becoming judgemental wondering why the other team-members are being so difficult.
Oooops! And I catch myself.
Judging others is often a first sign of something wrong. Instead of the others being ‚wrong‘, it is often rather a sign that you, as an individual are feeling negative, and start to project that onto others. Projection is a defence-mechanism. So it’s good to check-in with yourself when you’re noticing your judging others, what is going on with you. Sort of stepping out of the meeting’s conversation and do a ‚mini-check-in‘ with yourself.
It helped me in that moment to remember that everyone has different needs and preferences. Carl Jung described this well when he found that we are born with a predisposition for the functions and attitudes we will prefer to use as adults. We have four pairs of opposing attitudes and functions that we have grown used to growing up:
Extraversion – Introversion
Do you prefer high energy, spending time with others? Or prefer to work by yourself and keep energy calm.
Sensing – Intuition
Do you need details and data for a way forward or do you see how things relate more intuitively?
Thinking – Feeling
Do you make decisions through common logic or more on emotions and feelings?
Judging – Perceiving
How much planning do you need? Or do you rather improvise and leave things undecided in the last moment?
Now above quick summary does not do Jung’s MBTI test justice but it often helps me to quickly understand where others are coming from and what their needs are in that moment.
And as soon as I start listening out for that…
Somehow others don’t seem so irritating anymore: the person who was stressed and need a quiet break needs time to reflect all the information, the person who went on and on about something needs clarity and planning. My listening and my whole attitude changes, I respond better and make different suggestions. And it seems like the whole team is making a shift and is collaborating again.
Coaches and facilitators play a huge role in helping self-organising teams collaborate well, but there is also a huge role for the individual team-members to understand people’s different preferences and needs. I use Jung’s MBTI model because that’s what I have been trained in and understand well. If you want to do a quick, shortened version, you can try it out here – but I recommend having the full version done 🙂
But there must be other models out there that can help individual team-members listen out for what is actually needed for the individual but also the team. Perhaps DISC, or Social Style Indicator? I would be interested to understand what other models self-organising teams use to increase collaboration.