The axiom,“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” originated with Aristotle. In today’s culture this is perhaps more evident than ever. Leadership, human resources, and coach education programs emphasize the value of teamwork. Those who actively foster a team environment in their organizations are the ones who rise to the pinnacle of their chosen fields. Countless examples serve as evidence. Whether you are an athletic coach, business manager, or founder of a small start up, building an excellent team will sky rocket your success.
One of the first evaluations made of an athlete is whether or not he or she is coachable. Many coaches will select a less talented player who is coachable over a more talented player who isn’t coachable. What is it that prevents an athlete from being coachable in the first place?
Why is effective communication essential for team success? Communication builds empathy and understanding and gets people on the same page. Effective communication breeds synchronization, an alignment of purpose and effort. Highly effective teams, regardless of context, thrive because team members are synchronized with one another.
Championships are won on the practice field. Yet not all teams practice like champions practice. The truth is, practice doesn’t make perfect. The way in which we practice makes all the difference. So, how can you increase the quality of practice?
Praise can have damaging effects. To a coworker, “Wow, you learned that new software fast. You’re a genius.” To your boss, “Great sales pitch, you’re a natural at working the room.” To your daughter, “Way to go Casey. You’re so smart you got an A on that math test.” To your wife, “You look beautiful in that dress, all done up.” What is wrong with praise like this?
The research of Dr. Carol Dweck, author of Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success, finds that praise centered on a person or his/her ability may actually sabotage performance.
The highest performing teams in sports and business are built on shared purpose, collective effort and strong relationships. All three are needed to achieve excellence. Let’s focus on the need for strong relationships. For team members to perform at their best, they need connectedness within the team. That is built on trust, knowing others have your back and commitment to one another. When teams aren’t operating on all cylinders, performance suffers.