Making Teams Work

This past weekend was a “doc weekend”.  That means I had 16 hours of classes.  It also means that I had a lot of interesting conversations and interactions with classmates that made me stop and think (versus the normal “goo goo, gah gah” conversations that I have on the weekend with Clayton!)  One of those conversations from this weekend was especially inspirational because the topic was something I’ve focused on a lot over my career (and life)…teamwork.  

Throughout my career in education as well as with my background in sports, teamwork has always been a big focus.  This week’s conversation centered around the roles on a team and working to help make sure that everyone is comfortable in their role, while also meeting the needs of the whole team.  We’re all members of a team (maybe even multiple teams).  We all have a role on those teams, sometimes that role is assigned and sometimes those roles are assumed.  How team members work together dictates how successful the team will be as a collective whole.  

On a sports team it is often easy to know what role each team member plays.  Usually everyone is assigned a position, there are plays that dictate what each team member does, and coaches tell team members how to contribute.  However, in the context of the real world there aren’t always coaches who tell everyone what to do, we often have to figure it out within the team.  Working together as a group to set norms and expectations helps create a space for people to explore their role and support each other.  Starting from a “safe space” of understanding, each team member can identify their own role on the team.

I’d like to challenge you to take a few minutes and think about the team(s) you’re on and what role you play on that team.  If you’re not sure (that’s totally fine!) take a minute the next time you meet with your team to ask how you can best help.  Identify areas of need within the team and think about how you can contribute in those places.  Everyone is going to fill different roles on the team, that’s a good thing.  If everyone had the same strengths and played the same roles, then your team would only be strong in certain areas.  By accessing everyone’s strengths and communicating amongst the team you will be stronger and better equipped to face challenges together!  

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