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Team Building And The Selfless Coach

Dec 15, 2007
Can you name that one special individual you've encountered in your life that has elevated you in your professional life? Some of you reading this article may remember when you became an apprentice in a shop to learn from the owner. Others may recall the more recent incarnation of the term intern.

Each of us should have a person in mind that gave us the confidence and skills needed to be a team player. Many of these individuals poured out part of their lives in helping launch our careers professionally or we may have simply been a good student content to be an observer.

These individuals may best be referred to as mentors. They facilitated growth while helping to wear off our rough edges with the wisdom they learned over the years. Many of the best mentors know when to offer advice and when to let us learn for ourselves.

Imagine a father lifting his son onto his shoulders so he can see above the crowd if only for a brief moment. The son sees more than he ever could by watching the boots and hats from his boy-sized vantage point. That boy will always remember the feeling of being on top of the world.

This is the picture of a team leader in the process of team building. These men and women are called upon as mentors to lift their staff for moments that allow them to see beyond where they currently find themselves. Team leaders do this so their team members can see a bigger picture and visualize where they need to go.

This is the same idea when you hear the phrase, "I can't see the forest for the trees." When you are on the mountaintop you can see where you need to go, but when you are in the trees all you can see are - trees - and you forget where you're going and why you're going there. In those moments it can be easy to either get lost or, at the very least, feel lost.

A good team leader knows that if he or she does their job right some of their team will actually surpass them in skill and success. They realize the team members may change, but by investing in the personal and professional success of the team others will be more interested in filling any vacancies left behind when team members venture out on their own.

Team building is often about working yourself out of an employee. If you constantly belittle the employee you may be able to convince them that the job they have is the best job they will ever be able to find, but you also show blatant selfishness that seems to be a part of the makeup of most humans.

The success of your team (past, present and future) ultimately becomes your success as you help develop a new generation of team players who are self-assured and committed to the concept of team.

The best-case scenario is that those team members remember what it was like to see the big picture and they will help a new generation of team members do the same.
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