Building great teams under normal circumstances can be challenging. Building great teams during a pandemic can feel down right impossible. Many of us are struggling to find a work/life balance while operating with remote workforces, a myriad of distractions, added pressures and uncharted waters.
How can we use these (often uncomfortable) circumstances to make our teams better?
Let’s go back to the basics.
In cheerleading, I learned that “practice makes perfect.” We constantly honed in on the number of reps we could physically do over and over and over again. The simple thought was that by pushing the number of reps we completed, we could create muscle memory that would pull every team member through any difficult scenario we faced.
On Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker proved that methodology applies to more than cheerleading.
- With four seconds remaining in the game, the Chiefs tied it up to take the game in to overtime.
- During overtime, the Chiefs were forced to a fourth down, and Butker was thrust into a pressure cooker situation: a two-minute warning, a false-start penalty and a timeout from the Chargers, undoubtedly used as an additional means of distraction.
- Butker was forced to kick THREE times in less than three minutes. Because of a penalty against his team, his third kick was from 58 yards out, the second longest field goal ever kicked, to win a game in overtime since 1974.
During a time of additional distractions and pressures, Butker went back to the basics. He relied on the long kicks he repeated over and over this summer.
While few of us are professional athletes, we can use Butker’s “back to basics” approach to help build a better team.
- Figure out the assignment, then do the homework. What does every team member need to do in order to be successful?
- Push the reps. Does your team need more leadership drills? Communication exercises? Marketing knowledge?
- Lead and support. Lead with confidence that your team has the skills necessary to succeed. And don’t ask your team to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself; strong teams begin with strong leaders who are willing to walk alongside!
When your back is against the wall, the stakes are high and the team is counting on you – instill in your team that they have the skills to succeed. Remind them of their past wins and acknowledge the work they’ve put in. Encourage and reinforce the behavior that has helped them get this far. Be willing to call in reinforcements, perhaps in the form of extra training, to help your team succeed and to show that you’re willing to contribute to help them achieve progress over perfection.
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Shannon is a motivational speaker and business consultant based in Dallas, TX. She has worked in almost all 50 states with audiences ranging from corporate executives to student leaders.