Make appreciation an impactful part of your team-building
Here are some of the words of appreciation that showed up on the backs of my social work students on the last day of three intense weeks:
They had travelled from all over the province to be trained in the complicated work of Child Welfare. As is the case with any new team coming together, on the first day of training everyone was polite - mostly on their phones and thumbing through their learner guides in the morning before we started. Slowly, throughout the first week, people got to know each other - sitting together at lunch, spending less time on their phones at breaks. A team began to form - team of learners and colleagues.
You’ve probably seen this scenario play out on teams you’ve been a part of. Perhaps your baseball team, a strategic planning committee that you sit on or even in your neighbourhood. You start out as strangers with a common goal and through relationship building you start to work together.
The cornerstones of any strong team is relationship and the cornerstone of any strong relationship is appreciation. Showing appreciation for others makes them feel good about themselves and about the work you do together as a team.
But relationships take care. One way to strengthen and support them is through an outward display of appreciation and acknowledgement of the unique gifts individuals bring.
Back to my team of social workers and the words on their backs. We ended our time together with an activity to reinforce the team that had formed and the relationships that made the team strong. We spent our last hour together outside on an appreciation activity (described below). Each individual member left with the confidence of the words on their backs connecting them to this team and leading them forward to the next team they would join.
How to do an Appreciation Activity on your team:
After a meeting, practice or event tape a piece of paper to the backs of your team members
Give each team member a colourful marker
Circulate between team members and write one or two words that describe what you appreciate about that person