I know…I know. You don’t want to hear his name again, especially in another blog post. Well, humor me for a few minutes. One of the reasons the media says Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum agreed to sign Tim Tebow to the team (yes, it is official) is because of his team-oriented attitude and ability to motivate—two characteristics the Jets’ pretty broken culture could benefit from. And, as the former Broncos’ starting quarterback and team leader, I doubt Tebow had his team doing trust fall activities and participating in ice breaker games during practice to help improve their group performance on the field. So, what can we learn about operating effectively as a unit from this athlete?
When I asked my associates about their experiences with team building, they all agreed that team building for team building sake is less effective than situations that challenge or reaffirm relationships among members or employees. Trust fall exercises, although helpful in theory, are often viewed as stereotypically ineffective over scenarios that better mask the overarching goal by assigning a group task for members to engage and problem solve.
Team building or team “bonding” is a great way to reveal a group’s dynamics and the
characteristics about a group that makes them likely to succeed as an interdependent and cohesive team. Similarly, activities such as rock climbing or exploring a city together, for example, can “break down interpersonal barriers, clarify roles, and improve group decision-making.” Such activities can “magnify players’ strengths” according to John Leonard Staffing Consultant – Direct Hire Division Mike Gosselin, making it clear who does what well and then developing strategies that capitalize on these individual strengths. Furthermore, it renews purpose by instilling self-efficacy and confidence in employees that they serve an important purpose as a team member.
The key behind a player’s actions is motivation. Leaders who invest time, effort and resources into team building demonstrate their willingness to invest in their employees and their success.
Jets coach Rex Ryan’s description of an athlete translates into the definition of a working professional. Tebow’s job is to play football, "get better as a quarterback and to help the team any way possible." From a corporate standpoint, shouldn’t we all own similar responsibilities?
You do not have to share his beliefs or think he is a good football player, but entertain the idea that he can teach us a little something about team building in the workplace by the impact he has had on his team on and off the field.
Share with us a story of when you worked with a team and
what purpose you serve(d) in your role!