Shaping Your Team

Every team has its own shape, no matter how larger or small. Where do you fit in the team mold as the leader? Does it grow with or without your help? It can, if you don’t try to hard to control the shape of the team. Leading without control is the key to your success as a team builder.

Think of each member as contributing him or herself as a bit of raw clay. As our team starts to meld into a unit, we may tend to try to force members to follow our own ideas as to how the group should proceed. The very terms “upline”, “downline”, “sidelines” etc. can damage our self-determination as leaders to our team.

If everyone on my team becomes a leader, then I am at the absolute pinnacle of my game. How can I do that if I try to dictate everything they do? I have found that effective leadership is more in listening, and less in telling.

One member may contribute a few small grains, another may be mostly liquid, i.e. the whole concept flows through them with no real substance. Yet another may be that diamond in the rough. The thing is, in order for clay to mold into an attractive vessel, each of these characteristics need to be present. This keeps your team from becoming dry, or too stale, or without shape at all.

What it takes to keep your vessel growing in shape is to allow yourself some vulnerability. This is a delicate balance between hard and soft. The essence of clay is soft and easy to mold, yet it holds together.

Some “hardness”, is necessary. Confidence and a thick skin can keep a leader strong. Not allowing the team to form itself however can leave it cracked and brittle.

There is no right and wrong when helping your team to find its shape. This is a process that never ends. As your team vessel grows, it makes changes that may surprise you in new, even simplistic ways, because you allow members to contribute the best of themselves.

Ask your members to emulate, not imitate, what you and other leaders within the group do…. To find the strength from whatever it is that inspires them in you. Be the best “you” you can be, and allow them to find the strength in their own being to get to the best contribution for the good of the team, ultimately, the betterment of themselves.

Copyright (c) 2007 Karen Kay