In his influential book, “The Power of Positive Teams,” Jon Gordon provides invaluable insights into fostering effective teamwork and harnessing the potential of individuals within a collective environment.
Gordon emphasizes the four pillars of positive team dynamics. By integrating these elements into the fabric of a team, organizations can unlock their true potential and achieve extraordinary success. These pillars are:
- Communication: Clear and open communication lies at the heart of any successful team. Jon Gordon stresses the importance of transparent dialogue, where team members express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns openly. Effective communication fosters understanding, facilitates collaboration, and resolves conflict efficiently. Teams prioritizing communication create an environment where everyone feels heard and valued, leading to increased trust, enhanced problem-solving capabilities, and improved overall performance.
- Connection: Building strong connections between team members is another critical element of positive team dynamics. Jon Gordon encourages teams to cultivate an atmosphere of camaraderie, trust, and mutual respect. When individuals feel connected, they are more likely to collaborate seamlessly, support one another, and pool their collective strengths towards shared goals. Genuine connections within a team foster empathy, foster a sense of belonging, and enhance overall team cohesion.
- Commitment: A shared sense of commitment is essential for a team’s success. Jon Gordon emphasizes the significance of aligning individual and collective goals and maintaining a shared vision. When team members are committed to a common purpose, they become more invested in the team’s success and show unwavering dedication to achieving the desired outcomes. Commitment inspires resilience in the face of challenges, fuels motivation, and creates a strong foundation for the team to thrive.
- Care: Caring for one another is a transformative aspect of positive team culture. Jon Gordon emphasizes the importance of showing genuine concern, empathy, and support for team members. By cultivating a caring environment, teams create a safe space where individuals feel comfortable expressing their ideas, taking risks, and embracing growth opportunities. Care builds strong interpersonal relationships, enhances team morale, and drives exceptional performance.
Gordon describes many cases, predominantly drawn from sports teams, to emphasize the importance of each step. One of the most compelling stories was that of Brian Boland, the men’s tennis coach at the University of Virginia:
Brian’s team had just lost in an early round at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Indoor Championships in Chicago. A blizzard had hit, so their flight home was canceled, and they were stuck in their hotel. Brian had had enough. From 2001 to 2012, Brian coached many talented teams at UVA, but they could never seem to win a championship. Brian gathered his team in his room and asked if they thought they were connected. They all said yes. Then he asked them who were the most important people in their lives. They all said their family. Then Brian asked if they knew anything about their teammates’ families. It turned out they knew nothing about one another’s family. So, Brian asked them how they could consider themselves a connected team if they knew nothing about the most important people in each other’s lives. If you know someone, shouldn’t you know what’s important to them?
The rest of the story is up to you to read in Gordon’s book, but what we took from it is that you cannot build great teams without first showing an interest in each other’s lives. Start by being curious. Curiosity will lead you to the questions to ask with which you can build in-depth connections. We can only commit ourselves to the team and care deeply for its joint success through interpersonal connections taken from personal stories.