Take a few moments and think about the teams you’ve been a part of – sports teams, work teams, volunteer teams.
Teams reach toward a common goal – winning a game, organizing a product launch, changing the world! Without a doubt, a team can accomplish far more than each individual could on their own. That’s often why we choose to become a part of a team.
Once you’re on the team, you quickly learn whether you will enjoy the experience or only stay a short while. What if you could make your team the one everyone wants to join?
T – Trust
Without a doubt, this is the most important factor in whether a team is going to thrive. When teammates trust each other, we are free to contribute in the ways we’ve been gifted. If I don’t trust my team, I will feel pressured to do everything myself, to keep information to myself, and to look out for myself. Instead, I want to be on a team where people know I will accomplish my tasks, and I can rest assured that others will be accomplishing theirs. I know that we are all working together for our common goal, and no one is out for themselves. You are probably thinking about teams you are or have been on and pin-pointing the person(s) you couldn’t trust. Stop. Instead, I want you to ask yourself, “What can I do to be more trustworthy?”
E – Encouragement
Part of being an effective team means actively cheering each other on and supporting each other. I think we’ve fallen into the trap of believing that encouragement should follow a victory. Celebration follows a victory. Encouragement happens when we surround someone who is struggling, who has failed, who is not at their best. Teams surround the weak, not the strong. Who do I see that needs encouragement?
A – Always Communicating
I recently watched my son play in a championship game at the end of his summer lacrosse camp. The goalie on his team was amazing – yes, he was great at blocking the ball and protecting the net – but more importantly, he was constantly communicating with his teammates. He called out the position of the ball, announced when defensive players needed to slide, and kept the team focused. The goalie was not the leader of the team, but because focused on communicating, his team became stronger (and eventually won!). Do you intentionally share information? Consistently? Never assume someone already knows something – give them the benefit of making sure they have the information they need to succeed. Do I communicate with those above me? Below me? Beside me?
M – Maximize each team member’s strengths
It should probably go without saying, but not every person on a team has the same abilities and strengths. If they did, you would end up with a pretty lopsided team. Teams who function exceptionally well put each other first instead of focusing on individual agendas. They sacrifice their own timelines, preferences, and sometimes ideas to focus on accomplishing the common goal that we’ve already talked about. Dream teams rarely have superstars. How can I put aside my own agenda to help someone else grow?
Are you part of a team right now, or is your group more of a club? Do you have a common theme but no trust, little encouragement, a lack of communication, or focus on individual agendas? What can you do to make your team the one that everyone clamors to join?