Tag Archives: teamwork

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Leading Through Failure

You are a leader in your life, home, work, and community because you can effect change. How you lead through failure and the risk of failure determines the power of your impact.

I am sitting at my computer in my Marshawn Lynch jersey just a few hours before the Seahawks opening game. I watched the NFL opener a few days ago and was subjected to multiple replays of the last play of last year’s Super Bowl. The Seahawks and the 12’s have suffered.

Of the many stories following that painful failure, one stands out. It is a story of leadership. Russell Wilson organized an offseason trip into the heart of a Maui jungle and told the team, “I brought you guys out here, away from everybody. I want to have a heart-to-heart.” He knew it was essential to move through the profound tension of things that needed to be asked and to be said, and feelings that needed to be expressed. Sorting-it-through would make the difference in ever being able to function as a strong, focused team again. Ricardo Lockette (the intended receiver of that ill-fated pass) reported that there were tears from the team as they let it all out and eventually “threw all that over the cliff.”

Leadership skills: Live to fight another day.

#1 – Process the failure. As a leader you must neutralize the sting of failure by seeing it as an opportunity to learn. Failure stinks. But you must avoid the temptation to label yourself, your family, your colleagues, or your community as “losers.” Take the time to do a post mortem to feel what you feel and thoroughly explore what went wrong. Without intentional time spent discovering what you can learn, you are stuck in the ignorance that led to the failure, while the strength that led you to make the effort is eroding.

#2 – Take risk. We all appear to have different set points when it comes to risk aversion, and financial planners are quick to remind us that we all need to know how much risk we can “handle.” But clinging to assumptions about our willingness to take risk can affect our ability to make powerful differences in our world.

What do you want to change in your life? In the world?

What are you doing about it?

How are you doing, when you fail and when you face risk?

I am tempted to avoid failure and lay blame when it happens. Sometimes I feel like everyone’s pawn and forget that I am ultimately in charge of what I do with my life. Giving others control over my life can feel like avoiding failure, when in reality I am often simply afraid of the risks of taking responsibility. What do I miss? The same things you miss when you play small.

What would you do if you envisioned success?

What is getting in the way?

What failures of your past do you need to process so that you can move ahead?

What risks are you willing to take when you look at the possibility of success?

What did it take to get to the last two Super Bowls?

How many risks will you take to do what truly matters to you?

Go Hawks!

- Mary Beth King

This article also appeared in Blue City Monthly

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How’s Your Teamwork?

Teamwork is a method that aligns employee mindsets in a cooperative and usually selfless manner towards a specific business purpose. Today there is no business or organization that doesn’t talk about the need for and value of teamwork in the workplace. Some things cannot be accomplished by people working individually. Larger, more ambitious goals usually require that people work together with others. Because of this, teamwork is a desired goal of many businesses and organizations today.

People who have well developed teamwork skills easily form relationships with mutual respect among diverse types of people. They understand the strengths and weaknesses of others and place a high priority on the success of their department and/or organization. People with strong skills in teamwork support team decisions and share responsibility with team members for successes and failures.

How do you develop your own skills in Teamwork?

• Show respect for all other people and display sincere interest in them as individuals.

• Work on improving or enhancing your communication skills.

• Give positive feedback as often as possible.

• If you have a difficult relationship with someone, work to improve it through self-awareness and respect for differences.

• Be enthusiastic about your ideas but don’t be overbearing or domineering when you express them. Try not to interrupt other people and listen to their ideas carefully before you disagree.

• Discuss your ideas with your teammates until you agree.

• Be willing to step back from a disagreement and cooperate.

• Teach yourself not to be defensive. Think of negative feedback as opportunities for improvement, not personal affronts.

• Be tolerant of others. Recognize that others’ viewpoints are as important to them as yours are to you!

Self-observation

Ask someone you trust to help you identify times when you come across as overbearing, domineering or intolerant of others. Keep a log of your behavior over the next month or so. Then, try to answer the following questions as you look at your notes:

• Are there patterns to your actions? What are they?

• Do you interrupt often in meetings or conversations? Do you interrupt certain people more often than others?

• Are you particularly sensitive or domineering on certain topics or with certain people?

• How does your behavior make those people feel and/or react?

If you discover you would like to build your teamwork skills or the skills of your team, we would be glad to be part of the process.

Your Coach,

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Peace, Discipline and Teamwork

One of our favorite authors at the Chandelle Group is Patrick Lencioni and he originally published on The TableGroup this fabulous blog on peace, discipline and teamwork. We are in the middle of our guest blog month and knew this was one our readers would love.

Shandel and John  (among friends and family they are known as “John-del”), are only 5 days away from their wedding and we couldn’t be more excited for them!  

Just this weekend I listened as Shandel expressed how she felt great peace over the coming week. Yes, there is an ABUNDANCE of happiness; however, I now see the difference between the two. 

Peace, Discipline and Teamwork definitely work together in ALL areas of our life – both personally and professionally. Of course there is the “safe” and easy route, but it takes a strong leader to embrace discipline and take the more challenging path. As always, there is far more reward to the “hard” path.

Say goodbye to fear, anxiety and trust issues as you choose peace as your leadership guide and see the fruit of your actions bloom!

Enjoy!

- Lisa

All people want the same thing in life: peace.  Not happiness, which is an unsustainable and fickle emotion, but rather peace, which is the deep understanding that all is well, even when happiness is not possible.  And we all know when we have lost our peace; it’s when we feel fear, anxiety, angst or dread.  As much as those feelings are painful, they are actually blessings if we respond to them correctly.

See, fear and anxiety alert us that something is wrong, and force us to make a decision.  Will we work with courage to recover our peace by identifying and addressing the causes of our anxiety and fear?  Or will we choose to distract ourselves from those feelings through self-indulgence, and allow them to continue?  Here’s how this choice manifests itself in my life.

I often lose my peace when I get caught up in following the news and indulging in entertainment, and neglect to pray.  It’s like clockwork. I start to feel uneasy, even anxious, and I know I have a choice to make.  I can either turn off the TV or shut down my computer, and make real time for prayer, or I can try to distract myself by finding something more stimulating on television or the internet.  The first option is a little painful because it requires discipline and sacrifice, but it always works.  The second option is certainly easier and more convenient, but ultimately leads me further from my source of peace.

Okay, so what in the world does this have to do with teamwork?  Well, I recently came to the realization that teams also want peace.  They want to know that all is well in the group, regardless of whether the organization is in the midst of great success or struggle.  Essentially, they want to know that everyone trusts one another deeply, and is aligned around a common cause.  They need to know that no toxic, painful issues are fermenting beneath the surface, and that teammates say what they mean and mean what they say, without fear.

But peace on a team, not unlike in our hearts, is elusive and precious, and must be maintained through discipline.  Otherwise, it can be easily lost in the swirl of daily stress, sometimes abruptly, but more often, gradually over time.  We usually know we’ve lost our peace as a team because we see the signs of it; team members hesitate to disagree with one another, they use passive aggressive language, or they engage in back channel conversations after meetings.  Whatever the case, everyone knows that something isn’t right, but no one is talking about it openly.

These signs, as unsettling as they are, can be invaluable if we see them as alarm bells alerting us to take the steps to reestablish peace.  They can provoke us to address whatever it is that is causing the problem, regardless of the discomfort it will inevitably, though temporarily, entail.  It is always worth the effort.

But we leaders are human, and we’re often tempted to look the other way when we see signs that peace is threatened on our teams.  Sometimes we just underestimate the cost of the problem.  But all too often, we know the magnitude of the issue and simply choose to blunt the pain by indulging in the very behaviors that are causing the problem in the first place.

In my weaker moments, I’ve done this by failing to directly and compassionately confront a difficult or struggling colleague, instead indulging in water cooler discussions about them with others in the organization.  I’ve also held back frustrations from my team to avoid potential conflict, choosing instead to vent to my wife or a friend.  Of course, those behaviors only took our team further from the precious peace we wanted and needed, requiring unnecessarily painful recovery efforts later on.

The next time you feel that your team is losing its peace—trust me, it will happen and you’ll know it—challenge yourself to be the kind of leader that embraces temporary suffering for the good of everyone else.  Enter humbly into the discomfort of that situation, because that is the only real remedy.  When you’re tempted to choose the easier but destructive path of distraction and stimulation, opt instead to be the leader your team needs, and that peace demands.