Walk Left, Stand Right

I recently landed at Boston’s Logan Airport in the wee hours of the morning. I collected my luggage and boarded the escalator to reach my car. A business man hopped on the escalator behind me and sighed in a loud, frustrated tone as he quickly passed me. As he disappeared ahead, I realized he was mad at ME – I was not following the escalator rules of engagement.

The sign clearly states “Walk Left, Stand Right”. I was hovering on the left. Worse, I am a repeat offender. Why? Because I am left-handed. I always grab the escalator railing with my left hand; it makes me feel safe and sturdy during the ride.

How many times do project team members behave in a manner that frustrates others or derails the team? A Rules of Engagement conversation allows team members to develop a set of operating rules that focus on six key areas of behavior:

• Basic Courtesies
• Operating Agreement
• Problem-Solving and decision-making
• Accountability
• Conflict Resolution
• Leader’s Role

Teams that conduct this activity indicate that they are positively affected by the experience. Communication and working relationships improve, and team members become more aware of their behavior toward others, more aware of others’ roles, and better at seeing different points of view.

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