What are Matchers? Balancing Team Dynamics

Casey Fenton

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Ever wondered how some teams just seem to work seamlessly, each person adding their unique flavor, contributing to the creation of something truly exceptional? Among the key players in these harmonious teams are individuals known as "Matchers." 

This article unravels who they are, their role, and how you, as an employee, can leverage their attitude to achieve remarkable success.

Who Are The Matchers?

Matchers are the mediators, the balancers, and the team members who strive to establish a fair, equitable environment. They believe in the principle of reciprocity - giving and receiving in equal measure. Unlike givers who focus on helping others or takers who prioritize their own needs, Matchers maintain a delicate balance between personal gain and communal prosperity.

Characteristics of Matchers in a Team

In the world of workplace dynamics, Matchers play a significant role in maintaining balance. They are the individuals who help smooth the rough edges and make the cogwheels of teamwork turn more smoothly. But what makes Matchers stand out? Let's delve into the key characteristics that define them.

1. Attentive Observers

Matchers have a knack for noticing the details of interpersonal dynamics that others might overlook. They are able to read situations accurately and understand the needs and expectations of their team members.

2. Justice Seekers

A Matcher’s primary aim is to maintain a sense of fairness within the team. They work to ensure that all members are treated equally, contributions are acknowledged, and effort is reciprocated.

3. Reciprocity Facilitators

Matchers operate on the principle of give-and-take. They keep a mental scorecard of the exchanges within the team, promoting an environment where help and resources are reciprocated.

4. Adaptive

Matchers can be givers when the situation calls for it, and takers when necessary. This flexibility allows them to adapt and react based on the needs of the team.

5. Cooperative

Matchers foster a spirit of teamwork. They promote cooperation, shared effort, and mutual success. Their goal is not just individual achievement but the success of the team as a whole.

Are You a Matcher?

If you are intrigued by Matchers and wondering if you might be one of them, here are a few qualities that might resonate with you.

  • Balanced Perspective: You understand the importance of maintaining a balance between giving and taking. You aren't self-sacrificing to the point of burnout, nor are you solely focused on your own needs and wants.

  • Value Reciprocity: You believe in the principle of reciprocation. When someone helps you, you feel a strong urge to return the favor. Similarly, you expect reciprocation when you help others.

  • Adaptable: You can adjust your behavior to suit the situation. Sometimes you are a giver, providing help and support to your team members, while other times, you might be more of a taker, focusing on your own needs.

  • Team Player: You understand that success is not a solo endeavor. You cooperate with others and work towards shared goals. You strive to make sure that everyone in your team feels valued and included.

Recognizing these qualities in yourself can help you better understand your role in the team dynamics and how you can maximize your contributions. Being a Matcher isn't just about balancing give-and-take—it's about fostering a cooperative, respectful, and equitable environment for everyone.

Advantages of Having Matchers in the Workplace

The presence of Matchers in the workplace brings many advantages. Here's a snapshot of the benefits they provide:

Promotion of Fairness

Matchers encourage a culture of fairness and respect, which can significantly boost team morale and productivity.

Balanced Dynamics

Matchers help balance the extremes of givers and takers, preventing exploitation and promoting mutual help.

Enhanced Collaboration

By fostering a sense of cooperation, Matchers facilitate better collaboration and teamwork, leading to more innovative and efficient outcomes.

Conflict Resolution

Matchers often step in to mediate and resolve conflicts in the team, maintaining harmony and positive relationships.

Increase in Employee Satisfaction

With their focus on balance and fairness, Matchers contribute to higher employee satisfaction, which can lead to lower turnover and a more committed workforce.

Potential Conflicts Involving Matchers and Their Resolution

While Matchers work to uphold balance, they can sometimes find themselves entangled in conflicts. Let's delve into some potential scenarios and how they can be resolved.

  • Communication Breakdown: Imagine a situation where Tom, a matcher, feels that his contributions are not being recognized, leading to a sense of frustration. This conflict can be resolved by establishing open communication. Encourage Tom to express his concerns in a team meeting or with his supervisor. Understanding his perspective can lead to actionable steps to acknowledge his efforts, restoring balance and satisfaction.

  • Collaboration Challenges: Consider a scenario where a team has split into two factions, with one group consisting of givers and the other of takers. Emily, a matcher, finds herself caught in the middle. In such a case, promoting collaboration can help resolve the conflict. Facilitate a team-building exercise or a workshop to help team members understand each other's perspectives, foster empathy, and restore unity.

  • Perceived Unfairness: Suppose a new project is assigned to a team, and Alex, a matcher, feels that the tasks have been distributed unfairly. The resolution lies in acknowledging and addressing this perceived unfairness. Managers should take Alex's concerns seriously, review the task distribution, and make adjustments as needed to ensure fairness.

  • Lack of Support from Leadership: In a situation where Sophia, a matcher, has repeatedly tried to mediate conflicts in the team but feels overwhelmed by the responsibility, support from leadership is crucial. Leaders should step in to provide guidance, coaching, or mentorship to Sophia, helping her navigate these challenging situations and reaffirming her important role as a matcher in the team.

Strategies to Leverage the Influence of Matchers

As an employee, you play an essential role in harnessing the potential of Matchers in your workplace. Here are some strategies you can implement to foster a Matcher-friendly environment:

1. Engage in Open Dialogue

Being open and communicative is key. Whether it's by actively participating in team meetings, using platforms like Slack and Teams to share your thoughts, or contributing to suggestion boxes, your voice can help shape an environment that respects everyone's perspectives, thereby supporting Matchers' value of fairness.

2. Recognize the Contributions of Peers

Recognition isn’t only a top-down process. As an employee, you can take the initiative to acknowledge your peers' efforts. Celebrate their successes and leverage equity compensation to boost reciprocity. 

If your company offers performance-based Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), understand how they work. RSUs represent a company's shares that are granted to an employee and are typically subject to a vesting schedule. In performance-based vesting, the RSUs only vest if certain performance conditions are met, providing a strong incentive for you and your colleagues to perform well. This system not only provides tangible recognition of your collective contributions but also aligns your interests with the company’s success, fostering a Matcher's attitude of balance and fairness.

When you and your colleagues meet the performance conditions, not only do you recognize your collective efforts, but you also align your interests with the company's success, encouraging a Matcher's attitude of balance and fairness.

3. Foster Team Building

Be an active participant in team-building activities and seek out opportunities to strengthen your bonds with team members. Your efforts to build relationships and promote unity can support Matchers' cooperative nature and encourage shared success.

4. Mediate Conflicts When Possible

As an employee, you can help manage conflicts by utilizing your understanding of Matchers' inherent sense of fairness. If you feel comfortable, step in to mediate disputes and seek resolution. Your actions can contribute to a harmonious work environment.

5. Provide and Seek Regular Feedback

Constructive feedback can help maintain balance and fairness. Whether it's providing feedback to your peers, seeking feedback about your own work, or contributing to performance reviews, your active participation can help Matchers monitor team dynamics and adjust as needed.

6. Seek Leadership Support

Don't hesitate to seek guidance when needed. By actively seeking support, coaching, or mentorship from leaders, you can better understand how to navigate challenges and support Matchers in your team.

By actively implementing these strategies, you can help to cultivate a Matcher-friendly environment and optimize team dynamics, enhancing the overall performance of your team.

Bottomline

Matchers are vital for a harmonious, productive workplace. They balance giving and taking, fostering a culture of fairness and reciprocity. As an employee, understanding and embodying the Matcher's attitude can lead you to personal and collective success of your organization.

For more insights about alignment drivers that cultivate progressive work dynamics, read our blog here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Casey Fenton

Founder, Upstock & Couchsurfing, AI and Equity Innovator

Casey Fenton, the founder of Upstock & Couchsurfing and an AI and equity innovator, has revolutionized how we perceive and implement equity in the workplace. His foresight in creating platforms that not only connect people but also align their interests towards communal and corporate prosperity has established him as a pivotal figure in technology and community building. Casey speaks worldwide on topics including ownership mindset, worker equity, With Upstock and Couchsurfing, he has demonstrated an unparalleled expertise in harnessing technology for the betterment of community interaction and organizational benefits.

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