I don’t claim to be a superhero, fighting injustice wherever I see it. In fact, most often I’m too slow to react. And then I’m filled with regret for what I might have done, had I only had the wherewithal to step right in and fix things. However, I care deeply about systems, fairness and invitation. By ‘invitation’ I mean, inviting new people into teams, tribes, groups and helping them feel comfortable. By ‘fairness’ I mean, let’s be fair. We were all new at one time, so let’s be welcoming. By ‘systems’ I mean, let’s stop the spinning of the wheel just long enough to enable our new colleagues to jump in and get up to speed.

Huh, where’s this coming from…you may be wondering? Well,… About three hours ago during my early morning swim, I noticed a man crossing into the lap swimming area I was in. One other swimmer and I were hitting it pretty hard and this newcomer wasn’t sure how to navigate. Not wanting to slowdown, I waved him out of my way and to my dismay he ventured right into the oncoming path of the swimmer next to me. She barely slowed down, went around him disapprovingly and continued on. My intention was to finish my current lap and then explain to the new swimmer that he could claim the center of our area, thus creating his own lane and carry on quite nicely. However, by the time I turned around and headed back to the end of the pool, he was gone. I saw him headed out the door and I felt awful. Maybe his doctor suggested he take up swimming, maybe he made a resolution to get in shape, maybe he was trying to heal a back injury, maybe a lot of things. But definitely one thing – he most likely wouldn’t return anytime soon and he was probably feeling humiliated or at least defeated.

I could have helped this guy by reacting more quickly and being less self-centered. Had I stopped immediately upon almost colliding with him, I could have said hello, explained the rules, set him up in his own area and continued with my work out, having helped someone and made a new friend. But instead, my hesitation and preoccupation with my narrow set of personal goals contributed to a newcomer’s alienation and failure. I know I’m making this sound dramatic, but I think it is. I missed an opportunity to be a team building superhero, or at least show a little leadership and I hate that.

Stopping the spinning wheel, stepping outside of the box, showing leadership immediately and not only when it’s convenient, all require true dedication to team, or team-think. Had I been in a team-think mindset, I would have stopped in time to help this guy and it would have made a better experience for both of us, a win-win. When we work with clients in our programs we stop the spinning wheel. We slow it all down and open it all up through co-creation, brainstorming and interactivity, focused more on process than on goals. Had I been in a team building mindset this morning, I would have had antennae up for my fellow swimmer and slowed down as soon as he entered our area. We could have co-created an experience and become friends, but my superhero was dormant for about 60 seconds too long, and that was long enough to miss a great opportunity.

Be A Team Building Superhero

  • Start your day with a team meeting, do NOT bring an agenda
  • Talk a bit about how you’re feeling that day, good, bad or indifferent – describe at least one feeling
  • Invite your colleagues to do the same and then ask, “Does anyone need any help with anything today?”
  • Adjourned, that’s it. But now all of your antennae are up. You’ve started the day by listening and that’s a great start
Team Building, Injustice and Superheroes

Your invitation to contribute

Have you been a team building superhero? Or do you have one idea on how you could be? Please share your comments below. Who knows, we may co-create a great little ebook on superhero tips.

Billy Kirsch

About Billy Kirsch

Billy is a Grammy & Emmy nominated, CMA & ACM award winning songwriter with numerous Top 10 hits to his credit. His team building programs and keynote speaking presentations help people tap into their creative abilities to become more innovative and engaged in their work. Clients include Fortune 100 companies and organizations throughout the world.