After making back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl the past few years (and winning it once ), the 2-time defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks fell just short of an epic comeback against the Carolina Panthers in this year’s NFL playoffs. Without question, Seattle has emerged as one of the elite teams in the NFL over the past 5 years, and their resiliency showed even in this recent playoff loss, where they fell down 31-0 on the road by halftime, only to score 24 unanswered points in the second half.
What has made the Seahawks so special? Some people attribute the success to the defense that allowed the fewest points for the fourth straight season. Others credit Quarterback Russell Wilson’s highly effective passing game with fierce competitors like Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and rookie pro bowler Tyler Lockett. But the truth is no one player really stands out more than any other. You can’t win a football game without every single position—offense and defense.
When it comes to teambuilding, what is most critical is getting everyone to think of themselves as a whole. It’s about creating a culture that thrives on working together, being the best that you can be. It’s about the WE. Pete Carroll’s leadership style of competiveness—identifying and maximizing the uniqueness of every player and coach, and thriving on a nurturing environment—allows his players (the Seattle Seahawks) to be themselves. And, most important, it focuses on accountability to the team. This idea of team building can work on any level, including in your own organization.
Build around your leadership
Inc.com recently published an article entitled “5 Things Smart Managers Know About Building Teams.” These are the 5 things that were listed:
- Play to individual strengths: Is the employee in the right place so he or she can shine?
- Encourage transparency: Talk through issues and make sure team members understand each other.
- Establish ground rules: Make sure the team knows your leadership style and know what goals are set.
- Let them know you have their back: The team needs to know that they have unconditional support.
- Provide an incentive: Everyone enjoys a reward for achieving a goal. Sometimes the reward is achieving the goal itself and being recognized by one’s manager. Regardless—communicate what it is.
Successful leaders build productive teams when they understand their people, their strengths, and what gets them excited to work with others. Pete Carroll is a perfect example of this type of leader—just look at his Win Forever Pyramid. A great leader must know how effective they are and be willing to improve.
Fit the players together
Team leaders must know their employees well and expect great things. Leaders must understand what motivates employees and how to get them to believe in going beyond their capabilities. Make sure each person fits into your organization’s culture—not just whether he or she can do the job but if they can do the job well while being a team player.
It’s important to keep a special eye toward making sure someone is a good ‘match’ for the team and their role within the team. Formal and informal assessments can help. They may not be the right “fit” for a certain position but often can excel somewhere else doing a different job. Remember to give feedback and make sure the team is on the right track. Ensure each person feels included, appreciated, challenged, and engaged.
Lastly, it’s important to reward and celebrate as a team. Reflect on the triumphs and the tribulations—both of these contribute to team building.
Hold regular “practices”
Along with excellent leadership guidance, basic team building activities can make a huge difference in your organization. Pete Carroll started to integrate meditation into the program back in 2011. The players are not required to be there, but a large group shows up at various times to participate.
The entire roster also participates in an optional yoga class. Everyone enjoyed it so much that it became a mandatory part of workouts. Carroll’s mantras are positivity of thought, words, and actions. Swearing and yelling are looked down upon. The idea is that happy players make for better players.
You can carry this same philosophy to your organization by understanding that happy employees make better employees. Set the tone for higher levels of trust, sincerity, and openness. Try organizing activities or “team building experiences,” and have a clear objective with these experiences. When teambuilding activities are done correctly, they should have an impact on everyone.
Just last year, virtual workspace providers Vorkspace.com posted an article entitled “13 Top Team Building Activities.” These activities are effective, inexpensive, and can be organized without leaving the workplace.
Enjoy the game!
You and your team members should always be looking for better ways to collaborate, communicate, and have fun. Above all, enjoy the “game” of making every day as successful and productive as possible—put the WE in your organization today!