Tag: Building Consensus

Coping Techniques for Team Leaders

Coping Techniques for Team Leaders

An assertive, self-confident team leader uses a variety of coping techniques to deal with the challenges of interpersonal communication and to enhance influencing behavior.

Building Rapport With the Team

Rapport is the relation of harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity to support an outcome. The intended outcome is more likely with rapport than if it is not present. There is a sense of a shared understanding with the team members.

Mirroring – matching certain behaviors of a person with whom you are interacting — is the process used to establish rapport. There are four techniques of mirroring to build rapport.

  1. Voice tone or tempo
  2. Matching breathing rate
  3. Matching movement rhythms
  4. Matching body postures

Levels of rapport range on a continuum from a low of tolerance to a high of seduction. For business, strive for levels of neutral, lukewarm, understanding, identification, or warmth, all in the center of the continuum.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Expressing Disagreement

Representation systems determine by the brain give us clues about how individuals process information. People can be classified as predominantly:

  • Visual  (The things we see)
  • Auditory  (The things we hear)
  • Kinesthetic  (The things we feel, touch, taste, or smell)

Both the types of words used, and the speaker’s eye movement provide indicators of the system type. In a conversation, once we understand which type our conversation partner is, we can use the same system language to match the person’s type, helping to ensure more reception to our message.

Coming to Consensus

Whether there is a disagreement on a particular issue, or you simply need to get the team to agree, Neuro-linguistics offers a solution. To plan, make the following decisions:

  1. What do you want your outcome to be?
  2. How will you know when the outcome is achieved?
  3. Who will attend the meeting? (Important: Each person invited to the meeting must have the information needed for two out of three agenda items.)

Then, establish rapport as the team members come into the meeting.

Now you are ready to use the PEGASUS model to achieve your desired outcomes.

Present outcomes

Explain evidence

Gain agreement on outcomes

Activate sensory acuity

Summarize each major decision

Use the relevancy challenge

Summarize the next step.

 

Working on Problems in Your Team

Working on Problems in Your Team

The escalation of anger in ‘hot’ situations in the team can be easily prevented, if a system for discussing contentious issues is in place. In this blog post, we will discuss how to work effectively on the problem. Specifically, we will tackle constructive disagreement, negotiation tips, building a consensus and identifying solutions.

Using Constructive Disagreement

There is nothing wrong with disagreement. No two people are completely similar, therefore it’s inevitable that they would disagree on at least one issue. There’s also nothing wrong in having a position and defending it.

To make the most of a disagreement, you have to keep it constructive. The following are some of the elements of a constructive disagreement:

Solution-focus. The disagreement aims to find a workable compromise at the end of the discussion.

Mutual Respect. Even if the two parties do not agree with one another, courtesy is always a priority.

Win-Win Solution. Constructive disagreement is not geared towards getting the “one-up” on the other person. The premium is always on finding a solution that has benefits for both parties.

Reasonable Concessions. More often than not, a win-win solution means you won’t get your way completely. Some degree of sacrifice is necessary to meet the other person halfway. In constructive disagreement, parties are open to making reasonable concessions for the negotiation to move forward.

Learning-Focus. Parties in constructive disagreement see conflicts as opportunities to get feedback on how well a system works, so that necessary changes can be made. They also see it as a challenge to be flexible and creative in coming up with solutions for everyone’s gain.

Negotiation Tips

Negotiations are sometimes a necessary part of arriving at a solution. When two parties are in a disagreement, there has to be a process that would surface areas of bargaining. When a team member is given the opportunity to present his side and argue for his or her interests, anger is less likely to escalate.

The following are some tips on negotiation during a conflict:

Context is an important element in the negotiation process. The location of the meeting, the physical arrangement of room, as well as the time the meeting is held can positively or negatively influence the participants’ ability to listen and discern. For example, negotiations held in a noisy auditorium immediately after a stressful day can make participants irritable and less likely to compromise.

Before entering a negotiating table, do your research. Stack up on facts to back up your position, and anticipate the other party’s position. Having the right information can make the negotiation process run faster and more efficiently.

Make sure that you state your needs and interests in a way that is not open to misinterpretation. Speak in a calm and controlled manner. Present arguments without personalization. Remember, your position can only be appreciated if it’s perceived accurately.

It’s important that you pay attention not just to the words you and the other party are saying, but also the manner the discussion is running. For example, was everyone able to speak their position adequately, or is there an individual who dominates the conversation? Are there implicit or explicit coercions happening? Does the other person’s non-verbal behavior show openness and objectivity? All these things influence result, and you want to make sure that you have the most productive negotiation process that you can.

Lastly, enter a negotiation situation with an open mind. Be willing to listen and carefully consider what the other person has to say. Anticipate the possibility that you may have to change your beliefs and assumptions. Make concessions.

Building Consensus

Consensus means unanimous agreement on an area of contention. Arriving at a consensus is the ideal resolution of bargaining. If both parties can find a solution that is agreeable to both of them, then anger can be prevented or reduced.

The following are some tips on how to arrive at a consensus:

  • Focus on interests rather than positions.

Surface the underlying value that makes people take the position they do. For example, the interest behind a request for a salary increase may be financial security. If you can communicate to the other party that you acknowledge this need, and will only offer a position that takes financial security into consideration, then a consensus is more likely to happen.

  • Explore options together.

Consensus is more likely if both parties are actively involved in the solution-making process. This ensures that there is increased communication about each party’s position. It also ensures that resistances are addressed.

  • Increase sameness/ reduce differentiation.

A consensus is more likely if you can emphasize all the things that you and the other party have in common, and minimize all the things that make you different. An increased empathy can make finding common interests easier. It may also reduce psychological barriers to compromise. An example of increasing sameness/ reducing differences is an employer and employee temporary setting aside their position disparity and looking at the problem as two stakeholders in the same organization.

Identifying Solutions

Working on a problem involves the process of coming up with possible solutions. The following are some ways two team members in disagreement can identify solutions to their problem.

Related: Problem Solving Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Brainstorm. Brainstorming is the process of coming up with as many ideas as you can in the shortest time possible. It makes use of the diversity of personalities in a team, so that one can come up with the widest range of fresh ideas. Quantity of ideas is more important than quality of ideas in the initial stage of brainstorming; you can filter out the bad ones later on with an in-depth review of their pros and cons.

Hypothesize. Hypothesizing means coming up with ‘what if’ scenarios based on intelligent guesses. A solution can be made from imagining alternative set-ups, and studying these alternative set-ups against facts and known data.

Adopt a Model. You may also look for a solution in the past. If a solution has worked before, perhaps it may work again. Find similar problems and study how it was handled. You don’t have to follow a model to the letter; you are always free to tweak it to fit the nuances of the current problem. 

Invent Options. If there has been no precedence for a problem, it’s time to exercise one’s creativity and think of new options. A way to go about this is to list down each party’s interests and come up with proposed solutions that have benefits for each party.

Survey. If the two parties can’t come up with a solution between the two of them, maybe it’s time to seek other people’s point of view. Survey people with interest or background in the issue in contention. Find an expert is possible. Just remember though, at the end of the day the decision is still yours. Identify a solution based on facts, not on someone’s opinion.

 

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Sharing Your Opinion in a Team

Sharing Your Opinion in a Team

Sharing your opinion is an invitation for the rest of the team to share their opinion, setting the stage for an engaging discussion or debate. In this blog, we will discuss the skills you can use in sharing your opinion. Particularly, we will discuss how to use I-messages, disagree constructively, and build consensus.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Using I-Messages

An I-message is a message that is focused on the speaker. When you use I-messages, you take responsibility for your own feelings instead of accusing the other person of making you feel a certain way.  The opposite of an I-message is a You-message.

An I-message is composed of the following:

A description of the problem or issue

Describe the person’s behavior you are reacting to in an objective, non-blameful, and non-judgmental manner.  

“When … “

Describe the concrete or tangible effects of that behavior.

“The effects are … “

A suggestion for alternative behavior

“I’d prefer … “

Here is an example of an I-message:

“When I have to wait outside the office an extra hour because you didn’t inform me that you’d be late (problem/issue), I become agitated (effect). I prefer for you to send me a message if you will not be able to make it (alternative behavior).”

The most important feature of I-messages is that they are neutral. There is no effort to threaten, argue, or blame in these statements. You avoid making the other person defensive, as the essence of an I-message is “I have a problem” instead of “You have a problem”. The speaker simply makes statements and takes full responsibility for his/her feelings.

Disagreeing Constructively

There is nothing wrong with disagreement in a team. No two people are completely similar therefore it’s inevitable that they would disagree on at least one issue. There’s also nothing wrong in having a position and defending it.

To make the most of a disagreement, you have to keep it constructive. The following are some of the elements of a constructive disagreement:

Solution-focus. The disagreement aims to find a workable compromise at the end of the discussion.

Mutual Respect. Even if the two parties do not agree with one another, courtesy is always a priority.

Win-Win Solution.  Constructive disagreement is not geared towards getting the “one-up” on the other person.  The premium is always on finding a solution that has benefits for both parties.          

Reasonable Concessions.  More often than not, a win-win solution means you won’t get your way completely. Some degree of sacrifice is necessary to meet the other person halfway. In constructive disagreement, parties are open to making reasonable concessions for the negotiation to move forward.

Learning-Focused. Parties in constructive disagreement see conflicts as opportunities to get feedback on how well a system works, so that necessary changes can be made. They also see it as a challenge to be flexible and creative in coming up with solutions for everyone’s gain.

Building Consensus

Consensus means unanimous agreement on an area of contention. Arriving at a consensus is the ideal resolution of bargaining. If both parties can find a solution that is agreeable to both of them, then anger can be prevented or reduced.

The following are some tips on how to arrive at a consensus:

Focus on interests rather than positions. Surface the underlying value that makes people take the position they do. For example, the interest behind a request for a salary increase may be financial security. If you can communicate to the other party that you acknowledge this need, and will only offer a position that takes financial security into consideration, then a consensus is more likely to happen.

Explore options together. Consensus is more likely if both parties are actively involved in the solution-making process. This ensures that there is increased communication about each party’s position. It also ensures that resistances are addressed.

Increase sameness and reduce differentiation. A consensus is more likely if you can emphasize all the things that you and the other party have in common, and minimize all the things that make you different. An increased empathy can make finding common interests easier. It may also reduce psychological barriers to compromising. An example of increasing sameness and reducing differences is an employer and employee temporarily setting aside their position disparity and looking at the problem as two stakeholders in the same organization.

 

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How to Solve Problems as a Team

How to Solve Problems as a Team

Solving problems are one of the most common objectives of a team and is usually the . The diverse set of skills the team members bring to the team enhances the chance of finding a solution. In this article we will be looking at how problems are solved as a team.

Related: Problem Solving Outcome Based Team Building Activities

The Six Thinking Hats

Dr. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a powerful technique which a team can use to solve problems by looking at the problem from various different perspectives. It encourages team members to move outside their habitual ways of thinking. It also assists the team to understand the full complexity of a decision and to identify issues and opportunities which they might not otherwise notice. The various different perspectives are symbolized by different color hats. The act of putting on a colored hat allows a team member to symbolically think in terms of the perspective which the colored hat symbolizes.

White Hat – Neutrality
The team members make statements of fact. Information that is absent is identified and the views of people who are not present are presented in a factual manner.

Red Hat – Feeling
The team members state their feelings and exercise their gut instincts. It is a good method of harvesting ideas and getting the team to identify their top two or three choices. It helps the team to reduce a list of many options into a few to focus on. In this method of thinking each team member gets to vote for the solution they prefer.

Black Hat – Negative Judgment
Team members are encourage to identify barriers, hazards, risks and other negative connotations. This perspective involves critical thinking with team members looking for problems and mismatches. In this state team members should be discouraged from seeking solutions to raised problems.

Yellow Hat – Positive Judgment
Team members are asked to identify the benefits associated with a certain option or solution. In contrast to black hat thinking, this perspective looks for reasons in favor of something. This perspective is not just blind optimism but it is also an analytical process.

Green Hat – Creative Thinking
Team members are encouraged to think for the sake of identifying new possibilities. Things are said for the sake of seeing what they might mean, rather than to form a judgment. This form of thinking can take many forms and can cover the full spectrum of creativity.

Blue Hat – The Big Picture
All the team members are asked to discuss the thinking process. The team leader will generally wear this hat throughout the process and each member will be require to put it on from time to time. This hat should be used at the beginning of the problem solving session to set objectives and to define the route to take to get to them. It is also used to evaluate where the group has got to, and where the thinking process is going.

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a simple but effective method for generating ideas and suggestions. Brainstorming sessions allow team members to use each other as creative resources and are effective when a subject is being introduced. The aim of brainstorming is to generate a large quantity of ideas in a short time. This is usually followed by the sorting and prioritizing of the ideas to refine the results.

Building Consensus

Consensus is the point of maximum agreement from which action can follow. It is the one solution where everyone in the team feels that they have a solution that does not compromise any strong conviction or needs. In order to reach consensus, team members share, discuss, evaluate, organize and prioritize ideas.

To obtain consensus among the team, the leader must be able to separate the content from the process. The process should get the most attention with the leader assisting the team to solve its own problem.

The problem-solving process is as follows:

  1. Identify the problem or goal.
  2. Generate alternative solutions.
  3. Establish objective criteria.
  4. Decide on a solution that best fits the criteria.
  5. Proceed with the solution.

Everyone involved in the process should understand exactly which step is being worked on at any given point. When team members sense a problem, they are usually reacting to symptoms of the problem. But they are side effects of the real problem which usually lies below the surface.

 

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