When you are walking in a public place in a group, what happens when you see another group coming toward you? Do you:
- Compress your group to walk single file so the other group can pass without shifting?
- Keep walking 2-4 people wide so that the other group needs to walk single file?
- Shift to the right, but keep walking 2-4 people wide, so that both groups may pass?
- Do nothing and let the other group figure out how to make it past your group?
- Stop in the middle of the sidewalk, oblivious of the needs of others on the sidewalk?
Some people tend to be the ones who flex to allow others to have room on the sidewalk, while others tend to be the ones who want others to have to flex around them. Other people make room for both groups to be on the sidewalk, and others do nothing to acknowledge or flex to incoming groups.
This same attitude translates into daily work life. Let’s ask the question this way: When new teams and/or individuals join your organization, or join a project team, how do you flex your behavior so that both of you know where you “fit” on the sidewalk? Do you:
- Create space for both groups to pass with little interaction necessary?
- Actively create space for everyone to fit, with both groups flexing to accommodate needs?
- Wait for others to come to you, you were here first?
- Not concern yourself; your roles are different?
Ask yourself these questions, and then ask your team. Ask those outside your team how they see interactions with your group. Are there cracks in the sidewalk? Ask yourselves, does anyone deserve more or less space on the sidewalk?