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An example of MBTI/KTS in actual practice at one company will demonstrate its use. In the Kickoff Workshop for the Advanced Instrument Teams, members participated in the KTS type indicator test. Results were accompanied by a lecturette explaining the meaning, and usefulness, of the resulting temperament sort. Team members met in groups and discussed their individual indicators. The objectives of the discussions were threefold:

• to better understand self
• to better understand each other
• to provide a better informed basis for task/team as­signments

Does it work? A resounding Tes!" And at every level. But one caveat: the people involved must put the necessary effort into:

• learning about themselves
• learning about others and their relationships in work­ing with others

combining this learning for proactive/ synergistic teamwork action
The key point is to learn to appreciate the value added in others. Look for a win/win even when values, ideas, atti­tudes, even cultural norms are different. Capture and exploit the synergy.

But also look for performance—push back gently, diplo­matically, sincerely, when contribution and value added is both below par and team expectations. Now you're a real teamwork player!

The Listening-Adjustment Approach
Conflict in team action or workaday business life is com­mon. Our diversity and human imperfection lead us into differences of opinion, varying degrees of conflict, pro­longed adversarial positions, and even open warfare. When the differences are constructively put forth and received, true value is involved. On the other hand destructive conflict is the enemy of teamwork. It results in a waste of human effort and a loss of organizational energy, both precious, limited commodities.As the name implies, the Listening-Adjustment (L-A) technique puts a premium on that key element in commu­nications—listening.

It is a powerful approach to resolve conflict, particularly when accompanied by dysfunctional attitudes/actions on teamwork activities. The classic case is the person who presents a proposal which is not well received, then digs in their heels and clings to that posi­tion—even when all hope of winning the battle is lost. Most of us have experienced this "painting yourself into a corner" syndrome; we feel that we will lose face if we retreat!That's where the L-A technique comes in. L-A is built on the cause/reaction principle for understanding behavior— to understand the reaction find and understand the cause. In discussion with the person who persists in being a road block, another team member/leader uses a four step ap­proach:

• listens for the reaction
• listens for the root cause
• helps the person to associate the reaction with the cause
• helps the person to self-adjust by sincere listening/ prompting which allows the person to "hear" their own words—to work toward their solution

Needless to say, empathetic listening is no easy task. It is an acquired art that requires both patience and practice, along with a good deal of sincerity and integrity. The listener must suppress the usual reactions of blaming, arguing, telling or castigating. In place of these the listener uses "w" questions, restatement and neutral replies to helpthe person towards their own insights. The goal of L-A listener is to act as a facilitator in helping someone else to help themselves. Acknowledging our own shortcomings ourselves is the surest way to get people back on the teamwork track.

The basics of the L-A technique can be learned in a few hours. However, it is the practice which perfects sound listening habits. So we use a series of role plays to replicate real life and provide an L-A practice arena in the safety of the training room. Best of all, Listening-Adjustment is a technique which can be effectively learned and practiced by people at every level in the organization. This changes the culture as the listening organization becomes the learning organization!

Given the universality of diversity and its potential for divisiveness, the Listening-Adjustment approach provides a productive vehicle for getting folks back on the team. But no free lunch. People must be trained in the L-A tech­ nique—and they have to use it professionally for it to be effective.

To be Continued


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