Before You Start Collaborating with Someone, Talk About Your Work Styles

When you’re working with new people, spending time upfront to have an explicit and open conversation about each other’s work styles and preferences can prove to be one of the best time investments. This “style alignment” conversation can lay a foundation for trust and understanding and help you set agreements for how to successfully work together. Yet, many people shy away from having these conversations for two reasons. First, they worry that it will take up too much time. Second, they fear that it might make style differences more obvious and aren’t sure how to bridge those. By having open and deep conversations about style and preferences, something powerful happens. If you better understand where someone is coming from, you don’t just react to their behavior and feel annoyed by making potentially false assumptions about why someone is behaving a certain way. Instead, you can bring more compassion and less reactivity into your work relationships and maybe even preempt work conflict.

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