Teamwork. We see it again and again in sports, the arts, business. Take March Madness. The teams that work well together are engaged, rise to the challenge, enjoy each other, and are successful. To build your business’s success – build an engaged team!
Mark Anderson, president and chief economist at ExecuNet, in “What Does March Madness Show About Leadership & Teamwork?” first evokes last season’s World Series participants, the Mets and Royals, as teams without mega-superstars but with plenty of talent,
“What they did have were talented players working under talented leaders who believed in them and put them in position to win through a culture of unity and team-first thinking among the players.”
We see the same in college basketball’s March Madness, year after year. Teams with a common mission and that feel ownership for what they produce, achieve greater results. If each member of a team understands his/her role and how it contributes to success, he/she is better equipped to contribute to organizational goals. As Anderson writes:
“The more multiple members of a group can engage in leadership activities, the greater their engagement and performance, creating an intentionally joyful workplace that leads to sustainable results–in any business. Teams of leaders outscore leaders of teams.”
Dale Carnegie’s Liz Scavnicky-Yaekle, in “Four Teamwork Lessons to Score from March Madness,” identifies characteristics successful teams share.
- Trust. Team members understand that each of them has different strengths and skills, and members turn to each other when their skills are needed. When something needs to be written, you ask the communications expert. When you need numbers crunched, call the statistician.
- Empathy. Coaches and other leaders encourage instead of criticizing team members, especially when stakes are high–setting an example for all team members.
- Appreciation. Leaders praise players when they do a good job and team members are inspired to compliment each other.
- Treat failure as a learning experience. Teams experience failure from time to time. If leaders take the opportunity to review what happened and how similar issues can be avoided in the future, it’s a recipe for improved performance.
In “March Madness Teamwork Lessons We Can Use In Business,” Shep Hyken, chief amazement officer at Shepard Presentations, makes a similar observation. He cites John Calipari, coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, who wrote the 2010 bestseller Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life. “Coach Cal” observes that with every defeat comes an occasion to reevaluate and reinvent, another key tenet of leadership on the basketball court or in business.
Hyken points out that several schools have “powerhouse” March Madness teams every year. It says something about their leaders, he writes:
“There is no greater indicator of success than to have your company ranked as one of the leaders in your industry over the long haul. It is not an easy feat in business or in sports.”
Do you use trust, appreciation, and empathy to lead your business? Do you grow teams of leaders not leaders of teams? As winning March Madness coaches do, do you use defeats as learning experiences? We hope so! These tactics bolster teamwork and engagement, essential ingredients of success.
Interested in more expert advice for building an engaged, motivated workplace? Download gThankYou’s “Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should Be Reading” and learn secrets to building great workplace cultures through engagement, appreciation and smart leadership.
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