Getting the Team Back Together

They ran around screeching, excited, jumping and then when they went in for the hugs. At that moment I had to yell “Hold the hugs, go the virtual high fives! We’re not doing that yet?” One girl spun quickly on her heels “Why not?” she questioned. “We can at home….?”

Breathing deeply and calmly I said “Yes, it seems a little confusing, however we’ve got certain restrictions based on the sporting guidelines. Before we get into them though, let’s talk about why we are here and what’s important”.

It’s the Under 10 Girls soccer, we’re now week 2 back into practice. We’ve got brand new players we’re welcoming onto the team, oldies returning and mixed capability. It could have been a little messy, however here’s what we did really well to make it a brilliant first session:

Whilst I’m talking our soccer team, maybe some of these ideas, you might like to consider for getting your own team back together:

1) Acknowledgement:

It’s been an ‘interesting and unusual few months…” (insert your version of this to suit where your people are at. Mine are 9 and 10 year olds, so of course I kept it light)

2) Connection:

“We’ve got some new players so how about we play a name game and get to know each other all over again (also as I have to be honest, I have about 5 x Ella-somethings on my team and couldn’t remember all the names either!) So we made it really fun, had a laugh and bonded again. Relaxing the new kids and helping everyone feel at ease.

3) Speak Up:
“So across the next few weeks, we’ve got really clear guidelines from our soccer club, so we’ll be focusing on skills and fitness, no tackling or marking yet”. Here’s where you may need to be assertive, speak up and guide the way.

Lead the way. Be very on message. Have a clear voice. Vagueness creates more confusion. You can easily be walked on and/or ignored, if you’re not articulating yourself well.

4) Plan/Next Steps:

“So we’ll concentrate on …. (insert the plan, steps, actions that are required in here). We mapped out what that looked like for us in terms of activities we’d do to focus on refreshing specific skillset, how we’d work on fitness, learn about the body etc.

5) Choice:

This bit was fun. Rather than stating the way it had to be, we encouraged brainstorming. “Who has some ideas on what we could do” or even as they were spontaneously contributing during the PLAN/NEXT STEPS section, I didn’t ignore or shut down conversation. I left it open for each of them to contribute some options, to talk about ways we could do it. Normally where I might be a little (or way more) structured in my training approach, I let them make suggestions, each time acknowledging the value of their ideas (so they would feel heard, appreciated and valued).

Are you enabling choice, possibility and different opportunities to present themselves?

Can you provide a safe and encouraging space for people to speak up, share how they’re feeling, their ideas?

6) Alignment:
This is always my favourite part of the training, always recapping why we’re there, why we play, the being with friends, staying fit and heathy (and safe), the having fun, the getting fit, the laughter, scoring goals…yes, there will always be several kids who want to win and getting the goals is their thing  )

In your work world, we call this right now, realigning people with the purpose, the why. Particularly when things are pretty tough right now for many industries.

So the order of these steps can be slightly different, sometimes, I’d ALIGN, then SPEAK UP, then PLAN, then open it up for the OPTIONS, choice, brainstorming.

Across 45 minutes, it flowed.

You want it to feel natural, engaging, interactive, give everyone the space to be heard, appreciated, even the very quiet ones, who will rarely say a lot, yet have incredible value to offer in so many ways.

There will always be the loud ones, who have their hand up first every time with a ton of ideas.

Every team will have mismatchers. The ones who disagree and have different, often opposing ideas from everyone else.

There will be those who want to play by the rules, those who want to break them.

Those who are attentive and paying full attention and those who appear off with the fairies and on a different planet (or even a different bus in the workplace?!)

Creating and building a thriving team, embracing all the wonderful personalities and behaviours that come with that is such a gift.

As leaders, we need to:

To give it our best.
To work hard at it.
To give and receive feedback and act upon it.
To learn and to grow, so others can do the same.

Leadership is a privilege and a responsibility.

Let’s treat this gift with the care, respect and opportunity that it deserves.

Genevieve x

P.S If you and your team would like some help with ‘Getting back together again” comment below or email me and let’s talk about the different personalities on your team, let’s map out a plan. Remember, each team, different departments, businesses and industries, are on different journeys right now. It takes some preparation and planning for getting the team back together.

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