Last week, team SNoW Co. had a week. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It was a week of challenges, and lots of them. We had this moment where we all had to decide if we were going to freak out and run around in a panic, or if we were going to keep our wits about us and stay cool until we found a solution. The details of what happened aren’t important. It’s how our team bonded together that is noteworthy.
It’s easy to say we have each other’s backs when things are smooth sailing, everything is status quo. Those words, though they have meaning behind them, don’t actually mean anything until something goes awry. We can do 800 trust falls and team building games, but until something very real and very unsettling happens, we won’t know who actually has our back.
My team had a decision to make after hearing some not-so-great news. Although this news was more personal, it still had an impact on our team, and a large impact on our team member. SNoW Co. could turn the panic dial up to 11, throw out scenarios of this whole business burning to the ground, and add to the stress of the situation. And frankly, that’s what our brains are hardwired to do. We go into this mode to keep us safe from danger, but it’s not always the best way to react, especially when dealing with teams.
Instead, my team went into comfort and problem solving mode. They were beautiful humans and addressed the situation with emotion. They made sure our teammate was taken care of. They let her know she was in a safe place to just let her emotions flow. They didn’t ask her to explain or justify the situation, they just accepted her as she showed up in the moment. There was no one circling like a vulture to pounce on her territory or tell her what she shouldn’t do. They shucked all business talk aside and cared for her as a friend, not as a coworker. And once the time was right, they went into action mode. Calls were made. Strategies were shifted. Solutions were created. There was never a conversation of, “We’re doomed! What are we going to do?!” Instead they simply got down to business and forged ahead with the new status quo.
We showed up for each other in these moments. We had each other’s backs, wholly and completely. And because we had this situation, we grew together as a team. We formed a new level of cohesiveness, and we created a stronger foundation.
What is one thing you can do today to show your team you have their back? Here is a simple practice to show someone you have their back:
Shine a light on strengths. Next time you see your team member at their best, tell them what gifts they bring to the team and how it impacts the success of the group. If you need a quick primer on giving powerful compliments, there’s a Manager Minute video for you!