The Power of Embracing Difference
As leaders, many of us are most comfortable building teams of people who share similar backgrounds, beliefs, and values – and who speak with words that resonate with us.
But what if we’re missing out on the power of difference? Research has shown that teams who are able to build communicative competence – able to fluidly bring a range of communication – when needed, in order for the conversation to be effective – are more likely to be able to access the collective intelligence that exists within the team.
Structural Dynamics and The David Kantor 4 Player Model
We should look at David Kantor’s Structural Dynamics Model to better understand group communication and the importance of recognizing and leveraging differences in our teams.
We each have a behavioral model. When you encounter someone who has a different behavioral model than you this is the fertile ground for misunderstanding, miscommunication and breakdown, after all while we may intellectually value difference, when we encounter it in the moment it can be difficult to navigate. Feeling like you are not heard or misunderstood.
A truly gifted colleague, who I met in a workshop a few months ago, wrote this poem today, during a dialogue and exploration of communication differences. I think it beautifully sums up differences and I wanted to share it with you…
a Poem by Tania Watson
You say open, I say closed
It’s all in the detail I suppose
Though when I move and you oppose
I wonder what conundrum that might pose…
I stand and watch and still I care
My bystand brings questions – so, might I dare?
I challenge, you follow
At no point do we, either, we allow
You seek process, and I to understand
But, then, on-the-other-hand…
What would happen if we didn’t plan?
And peeled the onion’s many layers
But by bit, and piece by piece
Would we seem like a grand betrayer?
Or, too far away, detached, at least?
Nooooooooo I hear from inside my soul
This dissonance absolutely isn’t real
I’m calm, I’m hot – I’m low, I’m high
And even if we’re not aligned
So, let’s not stew. Who knows? Who knew?
My story, my dynamic – it’s old, it’s new
And in it lies pure mystery – the difference that is you…And me
It’s a Model Difference!
So if you find yourself feeling frustrated, confused or misunderstood – chances are you have encountered a model difference. Neither is right or wrong, it’s just different.
If you want to connect with Tania Watson, you can find her on LinkedIn or vist her website
If you are new to the concept of model building, I invite you to explore here and learn more about the book ‘Build your model for leading change‘.