This picture brings back such great memories for me. I was an assistant coach at Saint Catherine University and this was some of our team from 2007 or so. What a fun bunch of ladies to coach and steer towards improvement as a team. Our head coach, Nicole, was a big factor in turning around a program that was going nowhere, and it was fun to be a part of that building process.
Along the way we took our team through the StrengthsFinder personality tool as a way to help players understand more of who they were and how they were wired. We also learned how to better motivate each player, based on who they were, and who they were not. A player high in the theme of Competition? Great. Put them up against another player in a competitive drill and let them shine. Before a match? Make sure that high Competition player knows how they can personally ’win’ during the match. The flip-side is also very true, another player low in the theme of Competition? They might be offended if you put them up against another player and tell them to ‘beat’ that other player. Knowing how players are wired helps coaches know how to push their buttons and manage them in a positive way. Everyone will appreciate this. Coaches, and players.
What we learned in volleyball has applied to so many of my clients over the past decade. Whether it be in athletics, corporate, or non-profit teams, organizations and teams benefit from everyone having a high level of self-awareness based on their unique giftedness. Is it not about time that we started to focus on what is right about people and less about what is wrong with them?
There are so many reasons why I think StrengthsFinder training and team building can help any team, but here are my top five.
1. Everyone gets along better when everyone knows their own strengths and the strengths of their teammates.
2. All teams have a better chance of success if their members can increase their engagement or buy-in. StrengthsFinder training can help people be more self-aware and engaged.
3. Managers and Leaders who know their team’s strengths are more likely to position people in areas where they can be most successful. They have a distinct advantage over those managers and leaders who do not.
4. If team members are positioned in their greatest area of strength, they will feel more empowered because they have a greater chance of success. Their ability to trust their manager or leader will only increase.
5. Team chemistry is a much sought after and elusive proposition. After a decade of working in the field – StrengthsFinder training absolutely helps improve team chemistry.
Working with the team at St. Kates, whether they knew it or not, they were a lab for me – what would work with strengths and teams in the athletic world, what would not. The best part about having a lab was we tried lots of ways of improving team chemistry and cohesion. I distinctly recall our setter being strong in the theme of Self-Assurance – she appreciated compliments but did not need them to function. Our libero who was high in Positivity and Woo loved getting complimented and giving compliments. Two successful players motivated very differently based on their strengths.
What ways have you tried to improve your team chemistry? Have you used any assessment based training? What has worked?