You don’t have to like your team mates.  You don’t have to go to happy hour together or the office birthday parties with them. BUT this is what you do need.   You need an awareness of their differences and how those differences contribute greatly to a highly creative and productive learning machine:  a team.

Lori was on my team of four.  Lori drove me crazy…always pointing what details I missed, how she could have done better, and how our processes weren’t followed.  Hearing her voice on the phone caused me to roll my eyes and tighten my voice.  My answers were curt.  I kept Lori at arm’s length whenever possible.  And I sure didn’t sit by her at meetings.

As a ScrumMaster, my task was to nurture this team. I had us all take the Learning Type Measure from 4MAT.  Of our team of four, each of us had a strength in different quadrants.  We were a perfectly balanced team.  Kyle’s strengths were involving people in the decision making process and kept the team true to our values.  Jeremy was the best in organization, sticking to the rules and regs, keeping structure at the forefront.  Lori was operation and results orientated.  She preferred to work alone and was highly productive.  My strength was cheering the team on to new heights and evaluating what happened to make it bigger and better next time.

Armed with diagnosed learning styles of my team mates, I began to see Lori through a different lens.  No longer did I view her as an enemy or a thorn in my side.  I realized that I NEEDED her to shift my thinking, to ask different questions of the problems, and to complement my own strengths.  All those comments, that I thought were so nasty, were a manifestation of her learning style, not her opinion of me or my performance.

I never did become good friends with Lori.  But I did come to respect her opinions because they were different from my own.  Different is good.

To discover how to put your team’s learning preferences to work, join us in Minneapolis, MN for the launch of our newest course at 3Back, 4MAT for Scrum Teams.

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