Working with people

You run into an interesting situation the moment you introduce more than one person into a project. Whereas at the start a project may have been from the mind of just one, now you have a few folks weighing in. At this point multiple opinions enter into a discussion, and you have to make decisions and tradeoffs based on that. 

This is a good thing. When everyone is pulling together in a healthy tension great things can happen. The challenge is it can be hard for a team to figure out the right balance between that healthy tension and a toxic environment that shoots down the value of everyone’s feedback. 

A lot of teams struggle with getting this balance right, and it’s tempting during any point in the project to think that everyone else is the problem. That’s not the case though. Any company you work at, any project you take on (unless you’re truly the only person) will involve figuring out how to work together with others. 

Recognizing this and just calling out the tension for what it is helps to solve part of the problem. Also, having grace for what someone says, and what they mean, makes a big difference. For example, when someone is trying to explain a concept they are likely to not use the right words for what they’re trying to say. Or, they might say something that’s incorrect, or that you disagree with. Having grace and patience means you’ll accept their intent, or question what they said, and find a way to work together.

If you start counting remarks as points against a teammate, and holding onto those as fighting points, then collaboration and mutual support will start to break down. 

Getting this right is hard. But it’s something we must figure out if we want to succeed in our work.