What Having Different Perspectives In A Team Means

What Having Different Perspectives In A Team Means

Having different perspectives in a team means a lot of things. People will never always see the same. Resolution on a particular matter is not the same as having the same perspectives. You can reach consensus by working through differing perspectives. With different perspectives being inevitable, it is worth exploring what having different perspectives in a team means:

Care

Different perspectives may also mean that people care enough to apply themselves. This can be reflected in instances when a team engages on the way forward.

It could be the direction your enterprise must take or the design of a new package for a product.

When people care about something, they personalise it. This is one of the reasons some discussions escalate into heated debates. When people care about something they are willing to fight for it. (This does not apply to cases of “ego fights”).

No “fight” may suggest a lack of care. Having different perspectives on the same thing being articulated might just be care being articulated.

Environment Indicator

Having different perspectives being articulated is often an indicator of a healthy team environment. In healthy environments, team members feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable.

When team members are allowed to risk being vulnerable it creates an environment and opportunity for innovation.

On the other hand, unhealthy team environments do not encourage vulnerability and innovation. Leader, slamming different perspectives is counterproductive. It takes away the confidence of your team for possible meaningful contribution.

Unity Paradox

Differing perspectives are not synonymous with division. When there are different perspectives in a team it can mean there is unity.

Yes, unity. It means that there is ownership for the enterprise and its cause. It means people are unified in the pursuit of progress.

I am not suggesting that different perspectives cannot be a sign of division, but that different perspectives can also be indicative of unity.

Before dismissing different perspectives, explore  possibility of unity being expressed, especially when everyone envisages the same outcome, just a different means.

Thinking

Different perspective means that the members of your team are thinking. When everyone always sees everything  the same, it means some are not thinking.

Team members fail the team and the cause when they leave the burden of thinking to others. Being part of the solution also means team players do not leave the thinking to others. Sometimes the solution is many thoughts away.

Stronger

The adage, “Many hands make work light” is fitting when a team has differing perspectives. When a greater number of team members have different perspectives, it means there is opportunity to create something better.

This does not mean having less perspectives will result in inferior decisions or products but that varied perspectives increase the possibility of better results and products.

Thus, leadership must encourage expression of different perspectives and explore them with the team, reinforcing that the mission is what all endeavours must enhance. It must create an environment that encourages vulnerability and honesty.

Leadership must not be afraid of differing perspectives, instead be the ones to guard the mission of the enterprise by engaging with the team toward a consensus to move ahead.

Different perspectives are inevitable; it is what you handle them that determines whether you progress or regress.

Having different perspectives in a team can mean a lot of healthy things…

illustration by sea by the sea, (cc)

Author: Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

34 thoughts on “What Having Different Perspectives In A Team Means”

  1. Great post!
    It is refreshing to see someone writing on the perspectives – and celebrating the power in the ‘difference.’ 
    You are spot on when you say “Being part of the solution also means team players do not leave the thinking to others. Sometimes the solution is many thoughts away.” iWhen a team member abandons the thinking process and leaves it to others they set the whole up for failure. Part of the success of the team is in both the win column and the fail column. Sideline dwellers (as I like to call them) who elect not to share their view play it safe which attacks many things in a team. The greatest being Trust. 
    Thank you again for the great post. 

    1. Thanks Tammy! Different perspectives, if handled well, have the potential to propel a team further. Yes, trust is important for a healthy team environment. I like your phrase, “sideline dwellers”…

  2. Great post!
    It is refreshing to see someone writing on the perspectives – and celebrating the power in the ‘difference.’ 
    You are spot on when you say “Being part of the solution also means team players do not leave the thinking to others. Sometimes the solution is many thoughts away.” iWhen a team member abandons the thinking process and leaves it to others they set the whole up for failure. Part of the success of the team is in both the win column and the fail column. Sideline dwellers (as I like to call them) who elect not to share their view play it safe which attacks many things in a team. The greatest being Trust. 
    Thank you again for the great post. 

    1. Thanks Tammy! Different perspectives, if handled well, have the potential to propel a team further. Yes, trust is important for a healthy team environment. I like your phrase, “sideline dwellers”…

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