When people are different to each other, smooth collaboration and teamwork can seem slightly challenging at best, impossible at worst. On the other hand – if you can look for the opportunity and use the creative tension in those differences, you can start to build a very powerful team; one that is healthy, creative and successful. There is a very powerful source for learning and innovation that comes into play when different people come together. Differences can exist in many varieties; cultural, lingual, political, religious, personality, gender, values and/or many others. They are all opportunities.
Conflict is really only a difference of opinion. If we can see any kind of difference as a creative force, an opportunity for learning and better answers, then we can make the most of the different perspectives they bring. Conflict and tensions between people are very common. This isn’t strange – we all have different opinions, which is technically what conflict is – a difference of opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. Just because we look differently at something doesn’t mean we have to create tensions or full-blown conflicts with others. Conflicting opinions can be the source of healthy debates, great innovation and needed change, meaning we get even better results.
Healthy competition is a good thing. When issues are discussed and shared then it makes the team and indeed the individuals even stronger and they get better results. Here are our top seven tips for working successfully with people that are different than you:
- Let go of the “need to be right”,
- Curiously approach other people who are different than you,
- Invite and engage people into discussion, healthy debate and exchange,
- Look for the common purpose, what you have in common,
- Discuss and agree on some operating principles,
- Figure out what each person is best at, what their strengths are,
- Communicate, communicate, and communicate.