olympic level team

People across the world have their attention focused on the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If you are anything like me, you are glued to your TV screen and cheering for Team USA in every event from gymnastics to synchronized diving (it’s a real thing).  While watching these Olympic athletes work as a team to bring home the gold, I started to think about what it means to be a member of a team in other areas of my life, including the workplace.  Just like an Olympic team, a successful workplace team needs collaboration, encouragement, commitment and communication among other things.  Take a page out of your favorite Olympian’s book and use these tips to create a gold medal team in your workplace.

  1. Play to your strengths: Just like the members of the US Olympic soccer team have different positions and responsibilities on the field, each member of your work team should fill a role based on their strengths. If a member of your team excels in presenting information to others , make them the designated point person for future presentations. If there is a member of your team that excels at communication, why not have that person be responsible for communicating upcoming meetings and events to the rest of the team? By utilizing each individual’s strengths, not only will you build a sense of comradery but you will also boost productivity in the workplace.
  2. Cheer your teammates on: Similar to the various gymnastics events in the Olympics, work can feel like an individual sport; however, like gymnastics, you are all playing for the same team even though you have individual responsibilities. The success of your peers is a success for the company and should be celebrated. So when a team member scores points with the boss, be there to congratulate them. After all, chances are that if you are truly working together as a team you played some role in their success, so why not celebrate? By being supportive and cheering your team members on when they have victories, you are boosting morale in the workplace and creating a positive work culture.
  3. Problem solve as a team: Any member of an Olympic team will tell you that there have been instances when they have run into an issue that they’ve needed to solve as a team. These problems range from needing to figure out how to get past the other team’s defense to needing to communicate better in order to score. At work, you and your team will be faced with your own set of problems. From deadlines to difficult clients, don’t let the problems divide your team. Instead, use your strengths and diverse backgrounds to figure out the best solutions to problems as they arise.
  4. Commit to the team and the team’s goals: Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps, could certainly tell you that his now 25 Olympic medals didn’t appear overnight; rather, they were the result of years of commitment. That level of commitment to the US Men’s Olympic Swim Team is impressive, and something to be emulated in the workplace. Having a high level of commitment in the workplace involves showing up every day ready to work, working cohesively as a team, and following through with designated tasks so that the team as a whole can reach their goals.
  5. Maintain communication : Watching the Olympics, it seems fairly obvious that in order to succeed as a team, all members of the team must be able to communicate with one another. From calling plays on the basketball court to field hockey huddles, these teams are experts at communicating. In a workplace environment, it is important that team members are able to communicate constructively with one another by expressing their ideas in a respectful manner. Communication in the workplace also includes actively listening to other perspectives without debating or arguing. Truly listening to members of your team and feeling able to voice your own opinions will allow the workplace to be a safe space for ideas and collaboration.

The next time you see an Olympic team competing, consider these ways of making your team at work gold medal worthy.