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In a world that is increasingly interdependent, fluid and unpredictable, the quality of agility is a must for survival. Agility in this context is the ability to recognize the emotional and interpersonal needs in a particular situation and act accordingly. It requires the understanding that different situations call for different responses and sometimes, those responses may be outside our normal behavioral tendencies and beyond our comfort zone.
So how does a team learn to become more agile?
First, individuals need to gain more insight into their own behavioral style and tendencies. This includes an understanding of what their priorities are, what motivates them, and what they fear. It also includes greater awareness of how they are perceived by others and more clarity on the limitations of their behavioral style—in other words, their blind spots.
Then, team members need to learn about the differences that exist among members of the team when it comes to those behavioral tendencies, priorities, motivations and fears. Sometimes, it comes as a complete surprise that others see things completely differently than we do. And these differences can make or break a team.
For example, think about the willingness to take risks. Some people are naturally more daring and tend to charge full steam ahead. Others tend to be more careful, preferring to take things slowly. On a work project, it's easy to see how these differences can lead to frustrations and disagreements. On the other hand, when people understand and value the different approaches and perspectives, the result can be a more thoughtful solution that gains wider support.
Moving from simple awareness to deeper understanding and even appreciating different perspectives is often a breakthrough for the team. Once each team member can recognize and learn to truly value the differences that exist among the members, the opportunity for better decisions opens wide. And members of the team are much more likely to seek out help from a counterpart with different strengths.
Additionally, that self-awareness of your own style and behavioral tendencies allows you to make a conscious choice -- to choose a different response than the one that is your "default" reaction. It is in this way that you are able to increase your level of emotional intelligence in handling a variety of situations over time.
When a team undertakes to build this level of ability to respond to various situations with a wider range of behaviors, they build agility. And agility is more critical than ever.
If you are interested in learning more about how to measure and improve the agility of your team, simply reply to this email and request a free strategy session. Tell me what your #1 team challenge is and I promise to provide at least one viable solution.