Using NLP for Team Building
Modern day professionals do not operate alone, but are now part of a bigger, better and competitive team. The quality of their work is not only based on their individual efforts, but also on their interaction with the team members. Present day targets are achieved as a team, with success or failure shared by the whole team. It is therefore important for today’s technical programmer or software developer to be a good team member in addition to being an expert in technical skills.
Neuro-linguistic Programming shows how to build and maintain an efficient team, and how team-building skills can be acquired by each member of the group.
Essence of a Team
Neuro-linguistic Programming makes the presupposition that we are one. That means when we are a member of a team, we accept the team as a whole, and we understand that the success of the team is success of each member of the team. We often find that some technical programmers or software developers are in a habit to take the credit for a task achieved, whereas point fingers to other team members in case of failure. These members have not included themselves in the team, or are feeling left out. If you have such members in your team, it is difficult to feel a sense of togetherness, and conflicts may arise.
On the other hand, if we can accept another member for who they really are, we can begin to understand their way of thinking or internal map of the world. The Neuro-linguistic Programming presupposition states that the map is not the territory. That means that we are all unique in our thinking. We think differently from each other, and therefore behave differently. Given a particular situation, people will perceive a situation according to their own beliefs, values and experiences in life. What might seem to be an easy task for someone might be daunting for somebody else. It is therefore important to understand that each person is different, and no particular person is more right than anyone else. Your perception is your truth, and my perception is my truth. If we can respect each other for who we are, we can better understand each other. By using this Neuro-linguistic
Programming presupposition in our communication with the team, we can connect to other team members and influence a change in behavior both in ourselves and in others. When we interact with the team by first building a strong rapport, we can respect and accept a person for the truth of who they really are. It is not necessary to always agree with someone else, but by trying to understand where they come from, we can get to know the true intention behind their behavior.
On an individual level, we always make choices that we think are right. This Neuro-linguistic Programming presupposition states that people make the best choices available to them. We usually do not make decisions that we think will harm us. Our choice might not be the best possible choice, and can even be damaging at times, but it the best one made considering our state of mind during the time. The state of mind includes our emotions, feelings, resources, needs, values, limitations and skills. It includes our environment, upbringing, influences, self-confidence and our true intention.
Our unconscious mind will play a significant role in our behavior, taking inputs from our senses, emotions and conscious mind. The unconscious mind will assess our fears, confidence and state of mind, and then make a best possible decision. For example, if a person is afraid of speaking in public, he will tend to keep quiet in large groups although he might have something significant to share. A person who is shy by nature will not approach other people on his own. A person who has low self worth will try to boast about his achievements all the time. By recognizing the underlying emotions behind a behavior, we can begin to connect with a person at a deeper level. This can be done using Neuro-linguistic training.
Neuro-linguistic courses state that the meaning of a communication is the effect. Some technical programmers or software developers consider their team members to be incapable of understanding technical information, and regard them as slow or lacking intelligence. However, the problem could be the communication itself. For example, one particular technical programmer used to communicate in a soft, inaudible voice, using several abbreviations. His team members had to ask him to repeat what he said several times, often resulting in increased confusion, miscommunication and erroneous results. The programmer believed that the team members were inefficient and slow, but the truth was that his way of communication was flawed. Here the meaning of the communication was incomprehensible; its effect was disastrous. This Neuro-linguistic principle does not end at communication. It can be applied to all walks of life, such as leadership, team membership, motivation, mentoring, client interaction etc.
If people are ignorant or hostile to you, it could be because they are feeling ignored or resented by you. People will form an impression about you, and will react to you in the same way you react to them. If people feel free to approach you or ask your help, it shows how you have been able to influence them.
As per Neuro-linguistic courses, the essence of a team is that each member of the team exists to support other members of the group and to meet each others needs, irrespective of how demanding the needs are and how unexpected their occurrence. When team members respond and cater to each other’s needs, they are trying to achieve the higher purpose of the team, which is their ultimate goal. When the team members function as caring, understanding and supportive members, team excellence can be attained.
The Inner Team
We all have our personal opinions about our team. Some team members might feel enthusiastic and motivated when they think of their team, others might feel frustrated and in conflict. Some team members might be able to imagine the success of the team as a whole; others might be concentrating only on individual success. As per Neuro-linguistic courses, our internal representation of the team determines our actual experience with the team.
The performance of the team is directly dependent on the thinking of each individual team member. A member who does not support the team in his mind will not support the team in his behavior. Any doubt in the mind of a team member will affect in the result of the team’s purpose. The way a team member interacts with the team in his mind is the way he will communicate externally. As per Neuro-linguistic training, the external team is an expression of the internal team.
By understanding the Neuro-linguistic principle that you are the team, you can become a part of the team. You can change others only after changing yourself. By changing your perception of the team, your inner interactions with the team and your internal behavior with the team, you can make similar changes in reality. Imagine the team to behave in a way you would want it to behave. Imagine how the team members are interacting with each other and with you. Imagine what each member will be talking about the team. Imagine how the team members relate to each other. Think of the emotions you will feel when you are a part of this team. If you think about a positive, motivating, supportive team, you will get one in reality.
Neuro-linguistic courses stress the importance of building team relationships using Neuro-linguistic rapport building techniques. Rapport building strives to join people and bring them on a common platform of trust and respect. As per Neuro-linguistic training, the only person who can build a rapport is you. You cannot expect someone else to meet you halfway, because the only person you have complete control upon is you. You can make a change in yourself, and consequently influence others. If you wait for someone else to build a rapport with you, it might be like waiting for yesterday. it might never happen. On the other hand, you can take the matter in your own hands and lead by example. Neuro-linguistic rapport building techniques such as matching or mirroring can be used to establish a basic rapport, and sincere efforts can be put in to build a strong, lasting relationship.
An important principle taught by Neuro-linguistic training is that it is important to own a problem rather than blaming it on someone else. If every team member blames someone else for a failure, the result is total chaos. There can be a difference in styles or approach of each team member, but every team member should be open to the viewpoint of others. Neuro-linguistic courses stress that a weakness of one member can be fulfilled by the strength of another.
Only when the team functions as a whole, remaining a single entity, outstanding results can be achieved. As per Neuro-linguistic training, the consequence of measuring a problem usually leads to more problems. If the team concentrates on assessing the failures rather than successes, the team will experience further decline, blaming and conflicts. On the other hand, if the team believes the Neuro-linguistic presupposition stating that people have all the resources they need to achieve what they want, then team excellence can be attained.