Every month I'm fortunate enough to get a chance to sit down with my team and take a lunchtime out to watch TED Talks. Generally we watch two talks, selected by the team themselves, and we enjoy a debate and discussion after each talk on the topic presented.

As a management tool, it is a fantastic way to help develop the relationships within my team, and also stimulates and develops my team's ability to analyse, digest and debate topics; critical for a team who's function is to solve problems for our clients and provide them with attractive, affordable consultancy solutions which deliver results. 

I've previous written about our TED talks sessions, you can view my post on The Power Of Introverts by clicking here. It even includes a short test you can take to find out your personality type! 

This month's talked included Are you a Giver or Taker by Adam Grant, which is an insightful exploration of different personality types in a team. Interesting, following my post on Collaboration Overload (read it here) Adam backs up some of the theories discussed in that post, that those who seek to help others, other helping themselves, can become overwhelmed and individually may end up being the most under-performing member of any team.

However, the research in this talk suggests that bringing a team of Givers together will create a powerful team dynamic where collaboration excels and challenges get overcome faster and more creatively. 

From my view point, I think that this analysis rings true. I have some "Happy Givers" in my team (think Ned Flanders) who will go above and beyond to help others before carrying our their own tasks, and I have to protect and support those team members to help them find a balance which gives them the freedom to fulfill their natural tendency to help whilst making their they meet their commitments. 

Likewise, I, and potentially others in my team, are likely what Adam describes as "Disgruntled Givers" (think Dr House) who want to help others, but perhaps don't always seem like the helpful type. In this instance, I've found the need to give those people space to work through things on their own, and provide more guidance and less protection has been the best way to help them find a balance which meets everyone's needs.

So; what can you take away from this? I would suggest:

  • Consider team performance before individual performance; focusing on helping your team perform as a group is more valuable over the long term than emphasizing individual strengths.
  • Just because someone is a Giver, doesn't mean they are a Happy Giver! Behaviour and personality play a big part in how you can best support different character types.
  • Givers need protection to avoid feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated.

I hope you enjoy the video! I would be keen to hear your thoughts on LinkedIn or Twitter (find me via @mike_reader on Twitter).