Everything we do requires us to identify and learn a particular set of skills. Whether learning to ride a bike, play a sport, or become proficient in a particular field of study, skill development is a critical success factor.
Individuals seeking continual growth in one or more areas read, watch and learn from others, and practice often in order to realize their potential and achieve new levels of performance.
While it may not seem as obvious, realizing the potential of a team is no different. The simple truth is that building an effective and fulfilling team requires hard work. Without intentional focus on several key areas, teams will face a variety of common barriers that limit effectiveness, frustrate team members, and hinder results. Like fuel for an engine, team skill development facilitates growth and pays huge dividends for team members as well as the organization.
Over the next few weeks, we will explore five skills that are essential to the development of a strong, healthy, fulfilling team: Celebrating, Encouraging, Communicating, Problem Solving, and Building and Maintaining Trust. Celebration and encouragement bring life. They are the vibrant grass and rich topsoil that mark thriving teams. Communicating effectively and solving problems efficiently are the middle layers, the day to day skills that all teams need to leverage. And finally, trust is the bedrock on which everything else is built. Everything the team attempts will be impacted by the level of trust members have for one another, and for the organization itself.
So, think about your team. How are you doing in each of these areas? Over the next week I challenge you to identify the area in which your team is strongest and the area in which there is the most room for growth. Talk about it together. Then, check back each week as we tackle these topics one a time!
Note: About the time I was writing this post, I was also reading a book by The Arbinger Institute entitled Leadership and Self-Deception (a read I highly recommend). The content of the book reminded me of this critical truth: skills alone are not enough to produce strong, healthy, fulfilling teams. Significantly improving relationships and team dynamics goes deeper than skill development and behavior change. It requires a belief that all people have value and a desire to serve rather than be served. However, when character is strong and hearts are in the right place, improving in these five areas is a practical way to take your team to the next level!
by Rusty Chadwick