I believe finding balance in team composition is a key factor in instilling trust in each other’s abilities to learn and improve. This also makes team members more open to learning from each other.
A year ago, I joined my team as their first scrum master, and also their first woman teammate. After a few months of change, the team composition finally settled with 6 men and 4 women. We kicked off at a local pub with card games.
Back at the office, I started noticing changes: We started pacing ourselves better during meetings. We started asking for help more openly. A sense of light-heartedness was growing all over.
I knew I was observing these, but I wasn’t sure if I was simply speculating. I thought to myself: “Wow, we are the only product team at my company with this team composition, and I am curious if this is why we seem to trust each other easily, and are open to learning.”
I recently came across molecular biologist John Medina’s book, “Brain Rules for Work” (2021). His overview helped me make sense of my observations and group them into three points that I think are worth exploring with any team.
- Stress is as ancient as the Serengeti.
- The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- The more women, the more collective intelligence.
We will thread these points together, so you can explore with your teams, as well.
Elcin is mentored by Faye Thompson.
Elcin referenced Brain Rules by John Medina during her new voices lightning talk.