Teams need champions. When a champion stands up they challenge the team and push them forward to greatness. I see the value in having a champion on a team and therefore want to teach students how to be champions. I like to teach them three keys: risk taking, problem solving, and conflict resolution.
Risk taking is a key to being a champion. Teams become comfortable and content. A defining moment for a champion is that moment in time when they stand up, take a risk and push their team on to better things. Risk is the power to leap frog a team into success. We teach our students that timing is everything when taking a risk. Whether it be when a team is down and out or when they are working well together a champion can stand up take a risk and champion their team onto greatness.
A champion must also be able to solve problems. In order to teach students to solve problems we prescribe a simple process:
First of all be sure you are solving the right problem. Often times students try to solve problems but begin solving the wrong problem. I was once with a team who was convinced that the problem was that weak people kept spilling wheel barrels on a large concrete pour. They “solved” the problem by not allowing girls to run wheel barrels. They soon realized that guys were just as apt to spilling wheel barrels. They had solved the wrong problem. Eventually they realized that all they had to do was put less concrete in the wheel barrels.
That night we had to do some major problem solving as the girls came to the team hurt and unappreciated. That night when we met together as a team one of the guys in our group immediately spoke up admitting the team’s wrong and began to reconcile the team using simple conflict resolution steps he had learned in pre-trip training.
The following steps are vital in conflict resolution
-Let each person state his/her views
-Have neutral team members identify areas of agreement
-Explore areas of disagreement
-Have opponents suggest modifications to theirs/others point of view
-Ask opponents to accept team decision
That night the team dealt with the issues that had arisen during the work project, came to an agreement and moved on. The team made the correct changes this time and pushed hard for the next days of work.
Teams who have champions accomplish so much. At LeaderTreks we believe students can be leaders and champions. A champion is proficient in risk taking, problem solving and conflict resolution; all it takes is a little instruction and encouragement to see a student become a champion for their team. Often times student leaders look to someone else to carry the team. They worry about what people think more than getting the job done.
About the Author
Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners who never leave their side. Doug grew up in… Read More