Sharon – September 9, 2013
I have spent the last year and a half working on a program development and implementation project. As I return to the full-time consulting arena, I find myself reflecting back on the experience…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It was rewarding (and sometimes challenging to the extreme) to walk my talk – to assist in the creation of something I believe in and to do so with the right team. I have taught team building and facilitation for a very long time and I called upon myself to do what I had been teaching.
I can honestly say I’m proud of those accomplishments – building and maintaining a team with trust at the foundation so that there can be healthy conflict; a team that holds itself accountable and, when ego or status issues interfere, they deal with each other – not run to the supervisor or out to the parking lot to complain.
Once you have your team “built,” its challenging to maintain it; people leave their jobs and you have to find just the right fit to replace them. That is, a lot of people refer to themselves as “teamplayers” when they don’t really understand what that means at a deeper level. It doesn’t just mean you have someone’s back when situations with youth or families get difficult (it was a program for older youth), it also means appropriately confronting your fellow team members when they aren’t holding their own (slacking in some way). This means you have to be comfortable enough with yourself to do that and it also means that you have to have good communication strategies in your tool bag.
It is this last piece that I find most often missing. Whether you wish to define it as “trauma-informed” communication or communication via the Platinum Rule or non-violent communication, it really doesn’t matter – healthy communication skills are not something we generally learn at home or in school.
So, finding the right team members wasn’t a challenge in terms of their life experience or their work experience, but in their willingness to learn how to be part of a greater whole. Its something we are all working on regardless of our jobs. So, I return with renewed vigor seeing the need throughout our communities for positive relationship development coaching, continued team-building, conflict management and effective communications.