Teamwork … through the lens of wholehearted living

Back from spending most of the week in NYC.  TEAMWORK was the name of the game professionally this week.  Personally, it was the first week of my online study of Brene Brown’s Gifts of Imperfection.   So I was flush with experiences to reflect upon.  I found myself observing our work and relationships through the lens of ‘wholehearted living’ and the concepts in Brene Brown’s book.     Here are the three main concepts – and some ways I saw these things lived out this week in teams:

  • Courage – leaning into conflict, having honest and difficult discussions when needed, giving and receiving honest but gentle feedback
  • Compassion – coming alongside a teammate to help and support without judging, and having them do the same for you;
  • Connection – sharing an experience, breaking bread (and drinking plenty of early-morning Starbucks,)  sharing life stories, laughing

Oh … and all in the midst of a whirlwind of important, complex and tense work.   And it was also absolutely a lesson in accepting imperfection.  Though a great week with good outcomes, there are always lessons to be learned.  And living proof that imperfect can still be great.   It was a great example of people showing up with a shared goal, a commitment to support one another and lots of heart and caring .  And it reminded me how important it is to really nvest in and cultivate an environment where our teams can thrive.

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In the course of our lives and careers, we work alongside lots of people.  But many of these groups never live up to the spirit of the word ‘team.’  Egos, insecurities, selfishness and lack of trust can compromise teamwork daily.  But sometimes – if we are very lucky – those people connect on a level where their shared purpose and passion really shines through and you really start to see a team show up.  

Ultimately to create a thriving team you need to add a large dose of trust, but I think the  seeds of trust can be sown with a shared purpose, a common vision, something aspirational that you want to accomplish together.  Then over time as we teach one another, solve problems together,  come alongside and help one another, that sense of trust starts to grow.  Of course we can still frustrate one another or fall short, but with trust comes a little grace as well.  Little by little, we begin to know and trust that our teammates are there to support us, that if we stumble they will come along side and shore us up and we would do the same for them in an instant.  We start to develop that sense of connection. And then we are more willing to share and let down our guard, and more able to listen without judgment and support each other.

I have been blessed in my career to have worked alongside some wonderful people been on several truly great teams!  And also had experiences where I see the wrong behaviors on display in myself and in others… teaching me what to change next time, and making me recognize and appreciate it when teams really do connect and thrive!  These strong teams push the envelope of what we think we can accomplish and leave us feeling better for it.  They create periods in our careers and our lives that we look back on fondly because we showed up for one another and achieved great things.

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So after a long week, I am glad to be home this evening.  But also  grateful to have been a part of some great team accomplishments!  Also very glad to see courage, compassion and connection transition from a personal reflection in my journal (where I started the week) to something I could carry into work to try to act out and see in practice.

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