As a leader, how would you like to be a fly on the wall and hear one of your supporting players make this statement?
“It’s so awesome to see our team working together and experience everyone playing their part and contributing like never before.”
A couple weeks ago, right at the end of the workday as everyone was leaving, I had the privilege of that experience.
There is something very magical about being on a team where everyone brings their strengths to the table, work well with each other and see the cause accomplished. But teams are constructed thru hard work, lots of effort and constant nurturing. Here are three key characteristics of great teams:
Teams are frustrating
There is nothing more frustrating than being a part of a team that is dysfunctional and debilitating. Teams can be messy and alot of work, being a “one man show” is simpler. Nurturing a team thru the trust issues can be “yucky” business. Getting a team to see, understand and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses takes dedication and endurance. Great teams have diversity, different personalities and skill sets, and this mix brings frustration. But this very mix is what makes the team effective, powerful and provides the collection of skills needed for the win. Building a great team is frustrating but the result is worth the effort.
Teams are fostered
I love watching Open Court, a weekly, one hour show, where a select group of NBA players and coaches discuss basketball. One night the topic was players getting traded and Chris Webber tells the story of playing for the Sacramento Kings when one of their key players was traded. This teammate always brought his A game, practiced harder than everyone else, worked harder, was more committed and in so doing, everyone on the team naturally stepped up. All the players knew that if they were going to make it to the finals it would be the result of this key players effort, contribution and leadership. When this guy was traded, everyone on the team knew their hopes of making it to the finals were gone.
Great teams have a leader that fosters the team. They push everyone to play harder, give more and help the other players grow and find their fit.
Great teams are always fostered, they never accidentally become great, there is someone making and molding the team to be great.
Teams are fun
Everyone loves being part of a great team, healthy teams know how to play together, and feel comfortable with the group. Being OK with each other’s differences and respecting what everyone brings to the table. The satisfaction that comes from watching everyone play their role, each role fitting together and see the organization operating at a high level with everyone working together and tasting the wins as they take place. Two great signs of a great team is being able to fun and a healthy teasing with each other. When you see the team progress to this level you know there is a maturity, gelling and deep trust taking place.
As a leader, be working on your team, foster, develop and nurture it. Work to create a team that enjoys and respects each other and can have fun together. And don’t forget that the process of developing a team is frustrating, there is a lot of time, labor and emotional capital expended in constructing a 1st class, winning team.
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