A User's Guide to Working with Me

Quick Summary
Do you know what makes your team tick? Could they say the same? This quick chart helps team members communicate their most effective modes of work, including hot buttons, trust-builders, the best ways to raise and resolve conflicts, and more.

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What this is

A user's guide to getting along with team members, in the form of a quick chart for helping them get to know each other better. It includes the most effective ways of working with each individual, best ways to raise and resolve conflicts, hot buttons, trust builders, and more. Two versions are provided: a simple text-based table, and a graphic chart for more adventurous organizations or teams.

Why it's useful

When building a new team, developing an existing team, or incorporating new members, one of the most challenging tasks is addressing the people issues. Tools like this can help new co-workers or team members learn to work together more productively anytime, and accelerate the team development process during the often-chaotic early stages of launching a new project or starting a new phase. With the emphasis on establishing goals and identifying tasks to be done, the people and personalities that will make success possible can be forgotten. As a result, individuals are often forced to work through their team's inevitable "storming" phase with little formal support. Building strong relationships and an understanding of the preferred work strategies of teammates early in the project will make it easier to identify and resolve conflicts later.

This chart helps project managers and team members get to know the people behind all those goals, roles, and commitments. By identifying the human factors that color (and sometimes complicate) our projects, it provides a handy tool for speeding team maturation. Plus, as a practical matter, this tool takes the guesswork out of identifying different communication styles and approaches to getting work done.

How to use it

  1. Circulate the form and ask team members to fill it out. Encourage team members to be thorough and honest, but to keep the form on just one page so they'll provide an easy reference. If team members have done assessments of their Enneagram preferred strategies or TK conflict style, enter their preferred strategies on the form in the areas marked.
  2. Have team members share a few highlights with the team at a meeting where time has been set aside for team development.
  3. Make the set available to all team members. You may want to post them to a team collaboration space where they're easily accessible, attach them to an existing team member information site, or as a last resort, just print the forms out in hard copy and distribute to team members.
  4. Consult the information on these forms when an issue arises with one or more team members (e.g. not getting buy-in on critical decisions, conflict brewing, or unwillingness to commit to firm work estimates). Look for clues about how to best approach the issue with the team members involved. Use their recommended conflict conversation starters to get the discussion off on the right foot. Likewise, encourage your team members to consult your form when they need to approach you about thorny project issues.

About the Author

Kimberly Wiefling is a globally recognized author and business leadership consultant specializing in helping people achieve what seems impossible, but is merely difficult. She is the author of one of the top project management books in the US, Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces, growing in popularity around the world and published in Japanese by Nikkei Business Press. The founder of Wiefling Consulting, LLC, Kimberly consults to global business leaders. She spends about half of her time working with high-potential leaders in Japanese companies, facilitating leadership, innovation, and execution excellence workshops to enable Japanese companies to solve global problems profitably.

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