My whole life I have been SO attracted to the notion of teamwork. Something about every person having a perfect niche, specializing within his own sphere, and being celebrated for his unique contribution within the context of a healthy team has ALWAYS made me giddy! I think that’s one of the primary reasons I adored Scooby-Doo so much growing up.. I loved that each person on the team had a special skill that was necessary and recognized. They did not confuse roles or even attempt to solve the case on their own; they developed an enormous sense of awareness for how they desperately needed each other to catch the baddie.
MMM.. just talking about it makes me feel like I’m eating rainbows while somebody is pouring sprinkles atop my head.
As you can probably see, I’m pretty passionate about teamwork. I’m passionate about recognizing what each person specializes in, how he specifically contributes to the larger picture, and how that can be best utilized. Because of this, I have gravitated toward “team”, and over time have developed several successful teams. These are a couple principles for those of you who are building teams of your own, that I have found to be foundational.
- A healthy team eats together and laughs together! You may think it strange I chose to put this at the top of the list, but I have this to be true again and again and again. I can’t explain it, but regularly including food in your gatherings and laughing easily is foundational to a dream team.
- A healthy team is uncomplicated, and this starts on the individual level. To me, being uncomplicated means that you exist to make your teammates’ lives simpler. You are committed to being easy to work with. Uncomplicated individuals on a team are always well prepared, communicate effectively, are on time, and regularly ask for feedback.
- A healthy team assumes positive intent. Our stunning Drama Director Danielle Summers has brought this expression into our Creative Arts department, and I LOVE it! Whenever a potential issue arises that deals with another teammate, a healthy team will always simply assume positive intent.
- A healthy team trusts each other. Like anything worth having, trust takes intentionality and time. Trust happens when the team is lovingly honest with each other and never punished for that honesty. Leaders, take note too, that the healthy kind of trust ALWAYS happens top-down, meaning that you must first place trust in your team before they learn to reciprocate.
- A healthy team finds every reason to celebrate! Another one that I can’t quite explain.. but a team that regularly celebrates together will build people who say “thank you” and “I appreciate you.”
- A healthy team doesn’t take things personally. It just doesn’t. This takes a team of people who are confident and secure individually first, to realize that when changes need to be made, when adjustments happen, or when re-evaluating is necessary, that it is never an attack on personal integrity.
- A healthy team understands its roles. Each person plays a specific role that contributes to the larger picture. It is imperative that everyone understands his own role AND the roles that everyone else plays, so as to utilize strengths and also to respect (and even appreciate) bounds.