Alright, everyone. The nerdiness is letting loose a little for this blog post. There’s no reason we can’t have fun here though, so I am going for it! I found such a good lesson recently through a trailer, and I have to share it with you all! Have you all seen the new trailer for “Avengers: Infinity War?” It’s wonderful!!! I honestly cannot wait until it releases. You better believe I WILL be there opening night. For sure.
The excitement aside, I wanted to share with you a little thought I had while watching the trailer. It came during Black Panther’s few lines in the trailer. He has been somewhat of the “new guy” in the Avenger movie universe. Yet, in those few seconds of the trailer, he seemed to have taken control and stepped into a leadership role among the already formed Avengers. I’m not denying the awesomeness of Black Panther, but I thought it odd. Then I remembered that Captain America usually stands as the leader of this team, and the circumstances preceding this film put him out of commission for a bit. Thus, we see Black Panther step in for a moment to get the team back on track. How was he able to do this? I believe it boils down to three things: their clear vision, their self-awareness of their own skills, and the freedom to utilize those skills.
The team had a clear, communicated vision.
Each and every one of them was set on the same goal in this film. Of course, they may have had their individual motivators—things that related directly to them. Still, they all moved toward a common goal.
When leaders develop their vision and communicate it well to their team, the tasks at hand are immensely easier to accomplish. Teams cannot accomplish anything if everyone moves in opposite directions. Moreover, teams do not move toward a common goal by accident. It comes from identifying and articulating goals, for yourself and your people, to then push toward results.
They understood themselves and their own skills.
One of the most important parts of forming a successful team lies in knowing the members of your team and their skills. Identify what they are good at. Name their best qualities.
I remember one time I was on a team where our manager asked us to sit down and write three strengths and three weaknesses of our team members. We were then to discuss our lists. First of all, that times a fair amount of trust to have that conversation with your team! What’s more though, I struggled quite a bit with one of the individuals on my team. That person consistently tried my patience. I honestly had no respect for that individual. Still, I made the list. I can tell you I wrote down more than the three required weaknesses in about a minute. Those were qualities that bothered me every day. I had over-thought them numerous times before then and could identify them at an almost embarrassing speed. Then I hit the strengths. You know what? It took me some time, but I pulled out three strengths for which I admired that person. Putting aside all the annoyances, that team member could do incredible work in those areas. That exercise ended up as the most helpful to me. I looked at the individual in a new light and with more grace.
Back to the Avengers.
That story came to mind as I watched the trailer because that team had learned to do that same thing. In their best moments, they knew precisely where each person would accomplish the most. They knew when to utilize a certain skill from one of their team. They knew when to spread out and when to come together based on their own abilities. In Spiderman’s own movie, the Avengers had Spiderman take a step back to hone and discover his own talents BEFORE he fully joined their team. Otherwise, he would have undermined the success of the team by not having the ability to use his powers well.
All of that to say, teams desperately need to understand each other and their skills to reach toward their goals. It not only builds trust among the team, but it pulls the team out of an individualistic view in which one set of skills are used, to an all-inclusive view in which everyone can in some way use their gifts in the process toward a goal.
The team trusted each other to use their skills toward their common goal.
If you think about it, this team goes through the five stages of building a cohesive team: Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results.
Back to the trailer and Black Panther. I’m thinking specifically of the part when he says, “Evacuate the city. Engage your defenses. And get this man a shield.” First, he sets a clear vision for the group. The team allows this because they have developed trust among each other as they all are working toward defeating this new threat. Then, as part of that vision, he recognizes that he needs his people functioning at their best. In this case, that means getting “this man his shield.” He enables his people to reach that goal, and they allow his new leadership because, again, they are fighting on the same side.
Overall, your team can accomplish great things when you set your vision, utilize the skills of your people, and build trust among each other. There is POWER there.
All of that out of a little trailer! Let me know what you all think. Or maybe you have another idea of how leadership and team buuilding was portrayed in that trailer. I’d love to hear from you!