Reduce Friction and Promote Teamwork - Part 2

Posted by Frederic Lucas-Conwell

Reduce Friction and Promote Teamwork - Part 2

In the previous post we introduced the concept of friction between people in organizations, and why it should be resolved or avoided. In this second part, we analyze four other common frictions.

Resolve Mismatched Hires

Friction can occur when a job requires behaviors that don’t come naturally to us. A strong disconnect between a position’s demands and our natural behavior can cause boredom, ineffectiveness, lack of creativity, and decrease of engagement.

This disconnect between the person and the job can often be solved by first acknowledging it, and then providing a remedy, such as a better balance between work and non-work activities, adjusting the position to match the person, or extra support and development for the employee so that they can cope with the job.

Alleviate Language Barriers

It can sometimes be difficult to find a common language when talking about people and their personalities. Not all words, concepts, and theories mean the same thing to everyone. This is especially true for describing the behavior required in a job. When we use data and judgment-free assessments to evaluate talent, we no longer have to rely on labels and categories that are inaccurate. The GRI is one way to give people at work a common language.

Withhold Judgment

Biases and gut feelings naturally limit our ability to understand others from their own perspective—to view the world from their shoes. We don’t know what we don’t know about people.

Some call these blind spots, and they can make us jump to conclusions about people, which leads to friction.

Both positive and negative emotions about people may creep into our decisions. In order to make better judgments, we need better information about people. When we realize that each person has a unique way of expressing themselves, we value their strengths and differences more. In the absence of this realization, there is frustration, reduced interest and motivation, and fewer successful relationships.

Knowing our own profiles and the profiles of others through the GRI survey helps us to better distinguish the emotions involved in our interactions and thus to be less judgemental and more inclusive.

Increase Self-Awareness

Lack of self-awareness is another potential source of friction. A more nuanced appreciation of our own motivations increases our self-awareness and helps us anticipate areas where we might encounter friction. Better awareness of our strengths and motivations leads to better decisions for our career path.

An executive in Silicon Valley trained in the GRI put it this way: “Any tool that enables me to better understand how I’m wired and how I am likely to show up gives me an opportunity to decide how I go about doing it, so that I am at least as effective as I can be.”



When we know who we are, we can better inform the people around us about how we need to be understood and supported.

Explore how you can minimize friction between team members with the GRI. Read chapter 12 ofLead Beyond Intuition: How to Build a High-Performing Organization. Order the book on Amazon today.

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