Yeah, Yeah, another team meeting

Written by  on November 20, 2005 

You’ve heard it before, We need to become more Team Orientated

Fat chance, you think to yourself… I don’t even like half these idiots and they don’t do half the work I do, and all they do is moan.

Yep, I have heard it said before too. Teams are great if they are firing but they can be hell on earth if there is a dispute or conflict. For some reason, Managers persist with these ideas and try to gee up the members with pep talks and the like but it’s as if the team is lacking some daily vitamin or nutrient. For some reason teams don’t really fire much more than the individuals in them. So what do we have?A winning team ‘, ‘Do we actually have a team striving for success or do we have a group of individuals doing their job? Either way a good team will beat a team of individuals so why does the concept take so much work?

Well I have a theory around these teams. After coaching Under 12 year olds, I noticed that it was easy to win sporting competitions. What these guys wanted to do was win, despite all the encouragement to play for the sake of the game and winning wasn’t as important as playing, these young guys (and a couple of girls) all wanted to win and they would turn up each week at practice to learn how to win.

So why not give them what they want? What makes this winning?

Well importance is the mainstay. Make everyone important and suddenly they achieve more than expected of them. Make their job important as well and they learn that they have worth. This builds self belief.

Personality is far more constructive than skill level. Sure, you need players with skills but the majority of skills can be taught, the exceptional few will have flair as well and that’s a bonus for the team but if the individuals don’t have the will to learn, then teaching them will be a headache. The will to learn comes from each being important and making the minutest job the most important.

Now when you are coaching under 12’s, some players definitely have it together and the rest very definitely don’t. In Rugby Union, you need 15 players on the field plus some substitutes to come on if someone is injured. I can tell you now that very rarely do you have true ability right across the team. Maybe two are exceptional, four more will have talent and the rest make up the numbers. These are your stars… and I mean that sincerely. You will have eleven or more players who want to be great but need to be nurtured in the art of particular skills. (whatever the skill is)

These eleven are the ones who will win the team the majority of the games they play. Every team has them and it’s the team that develops and utilizes these players the best, is the team that will win competitions.

The first skill that needs to be taught is ‘Lose the fear’

I would rather that they gained confidence from mistakes than become despondent from not trying. You cannot correct or improve people’s abilities when they won’t do anything. If they try something and stuff it up, you can practice it so it won’t happen again, but if they never try it, how can you fix it?

This is where importance becomes important. Confidence builds confidence. Kids are so truthful it hurts. Their remarks to their team mates are cutting and blatantly hurtful. If you stuff up as a kid, your team can turn on you, but if you concentrate on getting players confident at a particular job and they also understand the importance of the job they do, then they will go out and do it… without stuffing it up.

Suddenly they have a smile on their face, the player with the flair may have run 20 meters and scored, but the guy whose job it was to pick the ball up, did it. The girl whose job it was to hold him up once he got the ball does exactly that and the guy whose job is to pass the ball did that too… suddenly winning becomes second nature. Sure you will lose some too, but comradery is made from executing parts of a movement to make it complete. If everyone knows their part and does it, then the comradery will follow

Now what’s this all got to do with you, I hear you ask?

What’s your team… and I’m not talking work here, although, that may play a part. Who makes up your team that gets you through the day to day winning?

If you start to delve into it, you will be surprised who’s on your side. We all have a team around us. The majority of us never give it a second thought; yet, these people are there, every day, helping us. Now what are you doing to make sure that these members are supported in supporting you the best they can and the way you need it. Let’s face it; they are on your team anyway so with a little tweaking here and there, you could mould this group into a stronger unit. One that would fully support you to the best of their individual abilities, all they need to know is how they can best do that.

The advantage to you can be immense. As in my under 12’s above, they became competition winners because the standard players, the ones without the flair, (the ones I called stars) were nurtured into a winning combination along with the exceptional players.

Remember that these people are in your team anyway.

Now this brings us back to our infamous office teams…

The way to win at that game and the major mistake most managers make is setting the bar too high. You will have seen it time and time again… less people, more work, higher goals, confusion, bickering. If you want to bring a team together, let the team win, in fact set the bar low enough so it can win and then step it up from there. It is so important that the end result is not out of reach. It brings about despondency and undermines confidence.

As a manager, you must start to value every member in your team. Grow their confidence and you will start to see the results. As a team member, reflect on what happens to you, what are your reactions to your surroundings?

If you react at all, then you may need to readjust your approach. If the team can be creating action rather than having to react to things happening to it, then you will be in a better place. To get ahead of the play will give you the benefit of time. This will allow you to prepare and devise strategies that work, rather than stamping out fires.

Managers had better take note of this too; giving your team time will be to your benefit. So before you decide to reduce the team and double the production, maybe get it well and truly sorted on how you can build the confidence and skill levels of each team member and allow them to win.

Of course, if you are already in a dysfunctional team, then you are going to have your work cut out for you. But ask yourself this, “Do I want to make a go of this?”

If the answer is yes, then make a go of it, if its no, then get out. Don’t fool yourself and others that it will work out. Just as 12 year olds come down hard on their team mates so do adults.

In the end, it will come down to you. Produce your best and being aware of the needs of others is a great trait to have and will build this confidence in you by others. Ranting and raving may work to a degree but the bad taste left in peoples mouths from being chastised will work against you despite what you are inclined to think.

Teams can be great fun. You will be surprised how many teams you are actually in. These teams are the most beneficial because they work and they aren’t superficial. Workplace teams can be the hardest to create and bring together but don’t underestimate their value if the members in it win, along with the team.

Know your teams

Cheers… Bill

Bill Gray

Bill is a Business Coach. Working with Individuals, Businesses and Organisations to create better environments and to develop and enhance business ”potential”, into successful business practices.

Website in the Company of Coaches

Ph +61 413 949 521

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