As a collegiate basketball coach for 23 years I understood that we could have great players, but if we didn’t play as a team, we didn’t win. Time and time again we would defeat opponents who relied on one or two players to get them the victory. The truth is a group of people playing as ONE is far stronger than several great players who are in it for themselves.
How did my coaching staff create a situation where our star athletes were adored but not put on a pedestal, where our average players played beyond their potential, and where our role players felt great about their roles? How did we manage to defeat teams who had superior facilities, more money and better administrative support?
By creating a caring and supportive environment where all people were APPRECIATED for their contributions.
Creating a cohesive unit in a corporate setting is not that different than creating a cohesive team on an athletic floor. It begins with the idea that every person is critical to the success of the company. While every individual cannot be paid the same salary, every individual can be treated with respect and gratitude.
People want to feel as if what they do is important. They want to be heard and they want to know that the company needs their services. The key is to value every employee and to make certain they know how the upper management feels about the roles they play in the company. The awareness that they are important will make employees want to give more and to succeed for the greater good.
This is an easier task when your employees value themselves, but it is far more challenging when they don’t recognize their own value.
How do you address this issue?
You can assist your employees in the discovery of their self-value. You can help them become better people. One of the things I did with my team was to hold once a week training sessions which were focused on life skills like conflict resolution, overcoming adversity, responding to pressure, and the power of positive thinking. These sessions were far more powerful than the two hours we spent on the practice court, because every person was gaining something that would help them in all of their life situations.
One powerful technique to use during a life skill session is to ask your team members to write down 20 ways they help the company and then have them share five of their points with the other team members. This is powerful in two ways. First it makes all individuals search for reasons why they are critical to your success. Second, everybody on your staff gets the chance to hear the various ways people are significant.
Another way you can address the lack of self-worth is during employee evaluations. When you meet with an employee for her evaluation, ask her to tell you all the positive ways she impacts the company. This makes her think about her value when she states it. Your job is to reinforce what she says, gently guide her toward how others view her, and to help her see how she needs to improve in order to make herself and the company more successful. When people are allowed to move through their self-discovery, they feel as if they are being heard rather than being told.
Team building is about building people up and allowing them to be valued, heard and seen for their part in creating a successful company.