Have you ever been part of a team that loved each other? Most, if honest, have not. Sure, we’ve been on teams where there is a sense of collective vision or teams with people that cared about each other. Some may have even been fortunate enough to be on teams willing to sacrifice for each other.
But love is different.
Of course, teams that love share a vision and care about each other. They willingly sacrifice for each other. But, teams that love do far more than that.
Why Should We Care? Everything without love is conditional. Feelings, passions, energy, joy, excitement, motivation - all conditional. Forgiveness, responsibility, accountability, caring - conditional.
Excellence in teams is unconditional love. The commitment to doing what the team needs doesn’t depend on obstacles or feelings. Motivation to work towards the vision and mission of the group is consistent, regardless of time of day or recognition. Forgiveness and acceptance are understood and provided to all members of the team, regardless of position or past mistake. No one holds a wager. No one counts the cost.
This is the essence of the love that I’ve known from teams. Too often we shy away from talking about it because simply uttering the word love, creates uneasiness in most. We need to get over it. Teams need to know what love is and how to express it to their teammates.
REAL TALK - Action Steps There are hundreds of ways to express love. Each team, each person, is different and will choose to show their love differently. However, there are a few methods to showing love that I believe are present in every elite team.
Love can not exist without trust and trust will never be formed without vulnerability. Open up to the people on your team. Some will reciprocate, some will not. That’s their choice, not yours. Admit your mistakes without offering an excuse. Say you’re sorry. Accept blame for things that aren’t your fault. Intrust others with personal information you are willing to share. The question always comes up - what if I get burned? You will. Do it anyway.
We never know everything that others are going through. Be generous with the stories you tell yourself about the actions of others - assume the best. Of course it’s hard, but we know it’s right. We feel better when we can actually do it and we free both ourselves and the other person up for the type of love necessary to maximize the potential of the team.
Not just for your actions, but for the actions of your teammates. Love sometimes says, ‘That wasn’t good enough. I know you can do better.’ Accepting less than those around us is crippling, not loving. Sometimes our teammates won’t want to hear this feedback - tell them anyway. Love can be a hug, but it can also be kick in the pants.
Embrace love on your team. Talk about what it looks like and sounds like. Encourage your team to lean into the unconditional love that supports teams of excellence.
For more information on building excellence in your teams, visit us at www.bluecollargrit.com. We would love to know how we could help!