When teams gather to plan, the best leaders save some time for everyone to gain a deeper understanding of their teammates. A more in-depth understanding of who others really are helps teams to build trust and overcome petty disagreements. A team event that concludes without team members knowing just a little more about one another is a big miss in the eyes of exceptional team leaders. The good news is that brief and simple exercises to accomplish new understanding are plentiful and often highly engaging.
One such exercise focuses on who we admire. The people we hold in high esteem can be a powerful lens into understanding what we value. Explaining who we admire and why can offer a team an engaging vantage to explore commonly shared attributes everyone can aspire to.
At the next team offsite, ask team members to list three people they deeply admire. These people can be living or not, and don’t necessarily need to be prominent or well-known. Historical figures, athletes, family members, and world leaders are all fair game. Post this list and then ask each author to explain what characteristics they most admire about those people. The insights gleaned from this exercise can be enlightening. Pay particular attention to the characteristics and qualities common to many of the accounts. Team members are often surprised to learn how consistently we view those we admire.
Learning specifically about who others hold in such high regard also shines a light on how they view influence and leadership. Walking away from any team meeting knowing more about our teammates is a must for the best teams and leaders. Make it a regular part of how you spend time together.