As a kid, I didn't play a lot of team sports. I remember playing netball at school for a little bit and I was part of a softball team for a couple of years during primary school but mostly I was more involved in the individual sports participation activities like swimming. I loved to swim and compete in swimming as a kid. But thinking back, it was the connection with others that I enjoyed when it came to team sports.
In my class this year, I have a high number of students who are involved in team sports like soccer, rugby, and cricket. There are, of course, still a number who play tennis and run as well. But even in amongst the seemingly individual sports, more and more students are competing to join district teams to represent their age group or school.
Teaching our kids (as well as truly understanding for ourselves) how to contribute and work effectively and meaningfully within a team is a skill that we all need to be taught and perhaps, reminded of.
Whether your team has two people of twenty or more people, the rules for maximising teamwork, where everyone within it feels like they are contributing, have a voice and feel valued, are the same. I had so much fun teaching this to my students this week and watching them add to and build on their connections that it made me think about how we work in teams as adults as well.
Together Everyone Achieves More
While working on our own can bring success and achievement, having different strengths, different ideas and various ways to grow provides the opportunity to combine all of these factors to achieve even greater successes. The power of the group, the momentum and drive of the group can encourage and push you beyond the limits that you may put on yourself as an individual. The truth is, is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement.
Ultimately, the breakdown of relationships comes from a lack of effective communication. Teaching our little humans how to effectively communicate their ideas, as well as their feelings and thoughts, as well as listening to, and understanding that of others in their team gives them the opportunity to develop compassion, understanding and empathy.
It's not about You.
There is no 'I' in team. I know we have all heard that saying before. Letting go of our ego when we are in a team situation can be hard. Sometimes we all think our ideas are the best ones and not having them accepted can bruise the ego if we let it. But when there is a common goal within the team, it can be a hard pill to swallow but really - it is not about you. Within any team, it is important o let our ego go. It is important to contribute our ideas but also acknowledge the ideas of others. It is important to be open-minded and respectful of other people's opinions, even when you don't agree.
Strength in Numbers
Teamwork is how ordinary people achieve remarkable goals. What most people underestimate is that the power of the team flows two ways. The strength of any team itself lies within each individual member. But together, the strength of each member is ultimately the team. We gain our strength as a team from the individual strengths we each bring. There is strength and unity in collaborating
Focus on the many
So who gets the credit when your team wins or is successful or achieves a goal? The majority of the time, we acknowledge the team as a whole which is how it should be. But we have all experienced those moments where one or two people are taking the credit for the outcome and success of the team. It surprises me that people still do this but it happens. If you are not ego centred but instead are team centred, it is amazing how much your team can achieve when you don't care about getting the credit.
Communication is key.
You are not always going to understand or agree with everything your team members will say or do. That is okay. The reality is that a lot of the problems we have would actually disappear if we talked to each other instead of talking about each other. A lot of people complain and whine about their team but don't actually communicate how they are feeling with the intention of creating solutions. If you want to be involved in a happy and productive and successful team - talk to your team members. It is easy to criticise what we don't understand but it is not how we build unity, understanding or empathy.
Problem versus Solution
A big part of the power of teamwork is learning to be solution oriented rather than problem focused. When we learn how to work together other things become easier as well. The success of a team is more effective when we help others to succeed and when we focus on the possibilities rather than the problems.
Teaching our kids the value of teamwork can never be underestimated. It is the ability to work together toward a common goal or vision or purpose. It is the ability to know and understand the strengths of the individuals within your team and use those strengths towards achieving the common goal. It is in the pooling of the individual strengths that great things can be achieved by the team.
Until next week....have a fabulous week!
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