It's no mystery why a team considered "extremely efficient and effective" is often made up of individuals who have worked together for an extended period of time. They have learned to adapt to one another's working styles and maximize each person's unique way of thinking. But rather than waiting patiently for this hard-won understanding to set in with your team, take a shortcut to achieve the productivity you need.
Recent studies reveal eight identifiable styles of thought you can leverage to increase your team's overall effectiveness. By understanding the strengths, weaknesses and motivations of these personalities, you will be able to reduce personality conflicts, improve communication and increase morale and productivity within your team.
The Intuitive Thinker
"My gut says..." The intuitive thinkers on your team are passionate about their ideas. They innately feel they're right—and they often are. However, this thinking style can create a roadblock for your other team members, who are not comfortable relying on "feelings."
The Analytical Thinker
"The facts show..." A voracious consumer of information, the analytical thinker can offer a wealth of knowledge. But when it comes to finding a quick-fix, the analytical thinker may become a hindrance because he or she often requires all of the information before committing to a solution.
The Optimistic Thinker
"The good news is..." Fueled by positive thinking, the optimistic thinkers can convince others to look afresh at a situation, which may lead you to new ideas and solutions. However, the optimistic thinkers can be unnerved by conflict or an intense difference of opinions.
The Pessimistic Thinker
"On the downside..." The pessimistic thinkers see reality and usually give their doses when others least expect it. They know what could go wrong in a situation—which can help avoid disaster.
However, they're usually viewed as the naysayers, which can cause your team to tune out.
The Inventive Thinker
"I've got it!" The classic visionary, the inventive thinker is always brimming with ideas. When presented with a problem, these thinkers see numerous solutions. The problem is, they have trouble narrowing the options to make actual progress.
The Assertive Thinker
"What if we..." The assertive thinkers of your team won't hesitate to share their radical solutions. Their ideas are often good, but sometimes they complicate matters by recreating the wheel. While ambitious and sharp, these thinkers have to learn to tame their bravado.
The Resolute Thinker
"This way..." Resolute thinkers are people of action, not contemplation. As natural problem-solvers, they can see the hotspot in every situation. It's against their nature, but they must learn to let others know before they act.
The Altruistic Thinker
"Let me help..." Beyond projects or problems, altruistic thinkers see people—and they matter most. These thinkers can provide cohesiveness and unity to your group, but they must be careful to not become distracted by others' issues in the process.
Knowing how to apply these eight thinking styles can reduce frustration and shorten your team's path to productivity. The key is to try to make the most of each member's individual strengths.
Beginning with this exercise of awareness, the members can minimize their own weaknesses and join the ranks of those "efficient and effective" all-star teams.
Jennifer Whitt is founder and president of Optimo, Inc., home of Purple Box Seminars (www.purpleboxseminars.com). For more information, call (404) 815-4644 or e-mail email@example.com.
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