Overcoming coexisting barriers in diverse teams

María Lucía Villegas

María Lucía Villegas

May 18, 2022

1 min read.

One of the most difficult things about being in a work environment is accepting that not everyone thinks like you. And that’s really the whole point, the magic of multidisciplinary teams is that we can find diversity in points of view and increase the reach of every project. However, sometimes co-existing in these environments can be challenging.

It’s my experience that has taught me how to deal with differences in the workplace. Some I understand as generational differences, some others are political opinions or even ways of communication. Whatever it is, it’s there, and it’s important to learn how to deal with it, for your peace of mind and to maintain a good work environment.

First off, recognize which differences are definitely non-negotiable because part of overcoming coexisting barriers is identifying which battles are worth fighting for and which are not. Also, is the person you’re having differences with worth fighting with?

I know sometimes it can be really frustrating to face these situations and we wish we’d never have to go through something like that again. So our instinct is immediately stand up for what we think is right, and sometimes, standing up doesn’t help at all. Sometimes even, the person that should be helping you make your point and mediating the conversation can’t do it because they don’t understand your point - regardless of their position in the situation.

So most of the time there isn’t even a conversation. At first, I used to be thrown off by this because, you know, the key to every healthy relationship is effective communication. And then I thought, maybe workwise it’s enough to only have effective communication in work matters.

Lastly, there are going to be differences in every workplace. If you’re reading this, and feel identified with anything, learn to choose your battles. If you’re reading this, and feel your work environment is going through something like this: learn to listen to other people’s points of view and give them the opportunity to express their thoughts. Sometimes we don’t need to agree on everything, sometimes we just need to feel heard.

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