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    What great team experiences can teach us

    July 8, 2014 by Jenna

    I love putting teams together for adventure races and sporting events. Whether the teams are people I have known for years or complete newcomers, I have found great value in teamwork in this kind of environment. It brings me a great deal of satisfaction to make it happen.

    I have learned a lot about myself – what my limits are as a team leader, the different personality types of others and different skill sets that a group can collectively put together to achieve a goal.  That is how any great team starts, establishing the goal you want to achieve, and working together to accomplish how to get there.

    I also found that for great teams to reach success, each individual in the team needs to possess the following qualities:

    • Have a good attitude – Showing up to a team event with an open mind and positive attitude can make a world of difference! It allows new ideas to be shared, it keeps other team members motivated and determined and overall positivity spreads. In sporting events, you can get run down and fatigued and it is so important to stay positive and encourage one another so that you don’t give up.
    • Be determined – To not only be willing to take on the task but to follow through. To stay as focused as you can, knowing that what you achieve in the end is worth the hard work and effort that you are putting into it.
    • Develop courage – To face obstacles, to show your true colours (your opinions, passions and sometimes vulnerability) and most importantly, the courage to ask for help when you need it.
    • Know your limits – Both physically and mentally. We want and most often believe that we can ‘do it all’. But in reality, if one person is trying to take on too many tasks at once without proper delegation, they will end up being more of a hindrance than an advantage to your team. You need to feel your best to be your best. Sleep right, eat right and manage tasks so that you are not continually struggling with stress or anxiety.
    • Know when to listen – As a team leader it is so important for me to know the needs of my team members. If they have a problem I want them to feel like I am approachable to talk to regardless of how ‘busy’ I may look. If they have a problem or something has happened I want to know about it to find a solution. Otherwise problems can go unresolved. It also makes individuals feel valued if you allow them to express their opinions. No one deserves favour over the other and each person deserves respect and time.
    • Be observant – Keeping aware of what is going on in your environment. To address potential threats and weaknesses with your goal, to be aware of the feelings and behaviours of your teammates (is anyone run down or require assistance?) and be alert to any changes that may take place.
    • Be respectful/humble to one another – There is no ‘I’ in team so keep in mind the effort of your teammates to help achieve the overall goal. Enforce gratitude and encouragement when needed to one another. Also be sure to keep in mind that if something does not work according to plan that emotions do not get the better of you and that you do not take out those emotions on your fellow team members. We are all human, we all have feelings, and as the saying goes, ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated.’

    What has teamwork taught you so far? Are there any defining qualities/abilities that you think lead a team towards success? What is your best team experience so far?


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