Monday, August 26, 2013

Whose Team Are You On? (#SAVMP)

PPPCS Middle School Team (2013)

What makes a team special?  Is it communication? A common goal?  The ability and determination to work hard and band together to rise above the rest?  I would say all of these qualities make a team effective and powerful, but they are not what makes a team special.  You know, the type of team that is the best at what they do but also has fun doing it.  That is a team built upon layers of trust.

In teaching, we talk a lot about relationships. It is important to let people know who you are, to listen and communicate, and to support one another.  Do these things build trust within a team?  I think so, but it is deeper than that.

Trust is developed when members of a team all collectively choose to be vulnerable with one another. It starts with honesty, sometimes about work-related issues, sometimes personal matters.  It is built upon when the members of a group start to reveal aspects of themselves, honestly and openly, realizing that they can be themselves,100%, without fear of it ever being held against them.  

This doesn't happen overnight; it is a process. 

Together, that team builds upon a layer of honesty and openness.  This allows teams to to grow and support one another.  It encourages trust in the most loving form.  Once there is this bond, a team can push its members, even when it means having tough conversations and addressing weaknesses and failures. The foundational trust allows people to know that they must look at themselves and improve because the people on their team need them to be better and to grow. They grow together and trust that the people around them will push themselves to be their best, even when it feels the worst.

These teams, the special ones, tend to stay together.  They grow and change together.  The years go by, they celebrate and grieve together, they lean on one another. They laugh together and they cry with one another. At times, feelings are hurt, but not for long, because the well-being of this group is superior to individual egos. Humility overpowers in even the toughest times.

The teams I am describing here, they can be found everywhere, in schools all over the country.  Yet, these teams are special because each is comprised of a group of people that not only enjoy what they do and trust one another, but have a deep and growing love for one another.  They have become a family. The trust they built back in the beginning, it grew into so much more. 

What are you doing to build your team?  How are your actions encouraging honesty, trust, and vulnerability? What are you doing to make your team special?

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