Utilizing Time Away to Understand Team Dynamics

The things we’ve learned about our co-workers during this time of remote work range from knowing whether your teammates own a desk or prefer to work from their couch to their interior design preferences or what they look like without makeup and a blazer. While I thoroughly enjoy analyzing co-workers based on what decade in which their wallpaper was chosen, we have collectively come to a more important synopsis of our own teams, teachers, and districts. Now more than ever, it is easy to identify which of our teammates are introverts vs. extroverts and which of our teammates are technologically inclined vs. challenged.

I fall into the “ambivert” (it’s real, look it up), technologically inclined category. While I work just fine at home, I do miss human interaction beyond the never-ending video conference schedule and my skills in technology have been utilized more than ever.. I actually enjoy meetings (while true, I don’t know if you can look that one up – we’re a weird bunch), I enjoy strategically planning with a team, I enjoy joking across cubicle walls – all of which have come to a crashing halt. Human interaction, while different, has not stopped. On the positive side of this all, we do have the power of video conferencing and I don’t mind sharing my interior design preferences in the background of my perfectly angled camera shot. More seriously, when utilized well video conferencing can be more efficient, strategic and productive to meeting in person. While I do miss the methodical process of filling my coffee before taking the elevator up to the 8th floor for a meeting in a room ill-equipped for the use of modern technology, I find time more productive in video conferencing. I am a visual learner and teacher, and, therefore, the ability to share my screen is more fruitful than conceptualizing a new project.

Technology has more than taken the front seat of education in this time of pandemic, teachers, students, and parents alike have had to embrace online classrooms and assignments in unprecedented volume. As high school CTE teachers have innovatively moved transposed hands-on lessons to an online platform, it seems elementary students and teachers have had some of the easiest transition due to daily technology use in their classrooms. Many educators have been forced to educate themselves in technology before moving onto transitioning their classrooms. 

Before assigning tasks to our team, we have been purposeful in taking a moment to capitalize on who would enjoy the project most. This shift in workspace has been more difficult for those who are extroverted and especially difficult for those who are technologically challenged. Take a moment, be the best leader for the humans on your team. Get the work done, but take a moment to understand your teammates as people. If your team needs more training, train them. If your team is extroverted, plan an extra thirty minutes for your weekly meeting. Give our team a chance to enjoy one another. Even those with the avocado green striped, gold floral wallpaper. Most importantly, use this time to truly understand your team dynamics and capitalize on this opportunity.