Life is a Team Sport
This blog is about personal development targeted toward improving your every day life skills. We have discussed goal setting, personal vision statements, higher level time management, and getting organized for the week. Today is about about building strong teams. Why? Because life is a team sport! Let's just take a minute and acknowledge we can't do it all ourselves. Life is too big and multi-faceted. This applies to EVERYONE - women who work outside the home, women who stay at home with the kids, men, small families, big families, single parents, and single people. I know it is hard to ask for help. Asking for help makes us feel vulnerable, incapable, less than and not enough. This is OLD thinking and we need to kick it to the curb. Instead of asking for help, focus on leading and managing your team! We all have resources, we need to use them.
For the most part my team is my family - John and the kids. However, my bench strength runs deeper than that. I get help from others as well. For example, my parents, babysitters, neighbors, etc. In order to make the most of what I have to work with I think of these people as part of my team.
Here are some of my most effective team building tips:
- Know your strengths and areas for opportunity (weaknesses but I never call them that).
- Know your teams strengths and areas for opportunities. Assign critical tasks based on team member strength. Look to develop their opportunities when you can.
- Get to know the people on your team. What makes them tick? This will help you motivate them to be their best. Their best is your best.
- Assign roles and responsibilities. You don't need to write job descriptions, you just need to understand how these people fit within your life.
- Create team spirit. Talk in terms of "we." Ask for input and take it seriously. Have fun and give your team a name. When we first introduced this in my family Big A was 5. We created a Team banner. Hang it proudly (whatever it looks like).
- Remember that vision you hopefully created? Share it with your team! Ask them to tell you how they can help you make this dream a reality.
- Define success. Help your team understand what success looks like. Let them help you define success so it means something to them.
- Delegate! Clearly communicate what needs to get done, when it needs to get done, and then trust your team member to do it. Let it go. There is no point in delegating if you are going to micromanage.
- Let people be responsible and hold them accountable. Don't swoop in and do a task for them. Coach them through the task. Help them see they are capable. Don't get crazy when the folded laundry winds up unfolded in the drawer. Point it out and show them how to transfer the clothes properly. Let them know you expect them to do it correctly next time.
- Celebrate wins. This is my favorite part. I love giving high fives, fist bumps, and "atta boys". I love telling my children that I notice how hard they have been working and rewarding the hard work with a special activity. Too often we focus on what everyone isn't doing.
- Follow up. You can't expect everyone to do what you say with the same commitment or sense of urgency you would. You could hope but in most cases you need to follow up with your team. How are they doing? Do they need any help? Will they make the deadline you set? Are they discouraged? This is a good time to thank them for their efforts and remind them of why it is important to work together.
What I love the most about applying this team building approach in my home is teaching my children to identify what they are really good at and show them how they can use those skills to support the people around them. It gives them purpose and helps them identify with a sense of self. They are empowered and feel like their contribution is important. Turning your family into a team takes work and diligent effort. Be prepared to fail. Be prepared to be frustrated. Building a team doesn't happen over night but if you consistently apply even half of these recommendations you will be amazed at how effective your life has become.