During my early years as an achievement-oriented introvert, I experienced the frustration of being:
- Isolated in conversations
- Forced to sit through endless meetings going no where
- Unable to influence others when the correct path was obvious to me, and
- Overlooked for opportunities that perfectly aligned with my technical expertise.
Over many years of observation, reading, and a fair amount of trial and error, I learned how to:
- Make other people feel comfortable and valued
- Truly listen to others and try to understand their perspective
- Incorporate others’ views into solutions that I proposed
- Become more comfortable in social situations, and
- Become recognized for my expertise.
The lessons I learned for developing and maintaining effective teams include:
- Recognize and value the individual strengths and contributions of each member
- Determine where the team is vulnerable and take steps to limit exposure
- Establish and act on priorities
- Model and reinforce courtesy, cooperation, and collaboration
- Encourage opinions (and disagreements) that widen the perspective and clarify the situation
- Deal with problems promptly, and
- Recognize and reward the team.