Three Core Competencies of Successful Teams


Cy Wakeman, Contributor

July 22, 2015

Think back to your early days as a professional. Odds are you had a manager or boss who, at some point, tried to take the path of least resistance with you as a young up-and-comer. After all, you were eager, wide-eyed, optimistic – clearly you were ready for anything that came your way, right?

Or were you? When you think back to those days, did your former boss really do you any favors by not having those hard discussions with you? Was it really in your best interest to let those teachable moments pass you by? While it may have felt good in the moment to “dodge the bullet”, it probably wasn’t long before you realized that this was not a sustainable (or realistic) strategy for long-term success.

My advice? Don’t repeat history. Avoid the temptation to shield your team from workplace realities and, instead, use your time and energy to prepare them for what truly lies ahead. This can be achieved by embracing and instilling the following core competencies within your team:

1. The Ability to Respond to Adversity
Change is a part of life and a part of the workplace, and yet we tend to greet it over and over again with a predictable response composed of surprise, panic and blame. We can’t believe it at first and those thoughts are quickly followed by the inevitable question, “how will this affect me?” And finally, we look for someone or something to blame, thereby tossing all personal accountability out the window. Reality-Based Leaders help their teams rise above this process and greet change with a simple “good to know.” They move quickly to help their teams understand their new realities and find ways to deliver results. Any other response is simply an argument with the reality, or the facts, of the situation and will invite others to waste their time and energy doing the same.

2. A Profound Commitment to Succeed in Spite of the Facts
Just because we are able to quell our fears associated with change, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. And that’s Ok, it’s quite normal to feel surprise, panic and blame as the information is being delivered. They key lies in how quickly we can help our employees move on from those resistant thoughts and turn them into action. To do this, we must tap into their beliefs. Competency comes after confidence, not before. How our teams view their situations affects their actions and, ultimately, their outcomes. Encourage your team to reframe and view their challenges in a positive way- what are three reasons why this could be happening for a higher good? Once they see the situation differently, action and results will follow.

3. The Will to Resolve and Move Through Conflict Very Quickly
There is a tendency for some to become addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes with conflict. This can lead to a need for it in order to perform – which is a reactive, not proactive approach. This destructive mindset will only lead to burnout and resentment over time. Instead, help your team embrace quick resolutions as this will lead to greater happiness and engagement. One way to do this is to make a simple shift in your vocabulary from “or” to “and”. Helping them see the bigger picture and escape an all-or-nothing attitude will help them see the possibilities that exist and decrease negative thoughts.

If you have an employee or member of your organizational team who is exhibiting these qualities, keep them close. They are your visionaries who are clear about their purpose and can drive for results. Look to them to help get their fellow co-workers on-board and lead by example. It make take more initial time and energy, but the long-term benefits of preparing your team for the unknown will pay off – for them and your organization.

Cy Wakeman is a national keynote speaker, business consultant, New York Times bestselling author, and trainer who has spent over 20 years cultivating a revolutionary approach to leadership. For more on Cy, check out

This article was written by Cy Wakeman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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