Core Values: Purposeful Engagement and the Prize of a Growth Mindset

Throughout history purposefully engaged people have received a prize for outstanding accomplishments. The Olympics, started in the 8th century B.C., now awards the gold medal. The awarding of students with academic degrees came into being around the 13th century. Scholarly and philanthropic endeavors receive the Nobel Prize beginning in 1901. Each respective prize is valuable in itself, but the symbolic and intrinsic value is far greater.The culture in the United States has been getting better about awarding deserved prizes, but the problem is this has evolved into an overabundance and devaluation. Major parties and ceremonies are conducted for graduation… from kindergarten. Win or lose, both teams are getting a prize trophy for just showing up. Confusion arises with too many prizes because no differentiation exists between putting forth an all-out effort, prior to and while participating in the event, and just showing up.Pressing on toward a goal to win THE prize requires countless physical, emotional, and spiritual hours of being purposefully engaged. Being so focused contains no guarantees to win THE prize, but choosing this path of life is wise because it is meaningful and moving upward. Upward referring to the sense of building resilience, toughness, and grit. Character building takes place in the struggle to get better.

Apparent success without failure just means the challenges were way too easy or not attempted accompanied by bogus excuses all aimed at looking good. Mindset brings a great concept to the table to deal with this way of thinking.Being purposefully engaged means attempting things that bring about growth and advancement. Scholars label this as having a growth mindset. Designating activities as inclusive of a combination of performance and learning goals requires having a growth mindset.For example, the performance goal for learning to shoot a basketball properly is to practice for one hour. The learning goal is to develop the best form possible during that hour regardless of how many baskets were made. The learning goal continues until the proper form is mastered. The number of shots made is being measured, but is not the prime directive. Learning proper form and growing into being a better shooter is. Failure is actually part of the process, not a deterrent.The growth mindset path makes learning fun and is far more productive than the contrary, a fixed mindset. Whatever endeavor continues to hold a person’s attention and is something worthy of further development necessitates having a growth mindset. The above example of shooting baskets involves many failures in the process of missing multiple shots.The greatest basketball players all miss shots, but all got to a professional level by having a growth mindset. Learning goals require effort more so than excellence and are part of any quality developmental program. When the development progresses quickly, making decisions is easier about the next steps. When progress slows, decisions become more difficult. Determining to persist to get to the next level or take a new path becomes the challenge.

The beauty of being purposefully engaged with a growth mindset is that this is a win-win proposition. The path that ends in defeat is different than failing. Defeat is merely a transition. Defeat ends when we launch into another battle (Paulo Coelho). What doesn’t work on one path is just a redirection leading to another destination.Being purposefully engaged in all undertakings is smart. The result is learning how to manage the tension between defeat and success. Get better at determining what is an area to excel in, have fun, and make a difference in the world with what eventually becomes an area of expertise.That’s being smart about higher education and living a life that matters!

Create, Build a Winning Team

There are certain points that every team manager and team player must stick to for the greater interest of the team as a whole.

This makes a team stand out and perform to impeccably.

Good leader & a great manager

“Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.”

~ Warren G Bennis.

Leadership is all about creating a compelling vision of the future, translating and communicating that vision, and helping people understand and abide by it.

Managers, on the other hand, are responsible for ensuring that the vision is implemented efficiently and successfully.

A team leader has to have a right mix of both these skills.

Delegation is the key word

No matter how skilled you are, there’s only so much you can achieve working on your own. With a team behind you, you can achieve so much more: that’s why it’s so important that you delegate effectively.

Being absolutely aware of each member’s ability to deliver and rightly delegating work for effective deliverance.

Motivation is another benchmark

The challenge as a team leader is find effective ways to keep a team motivated.

Good communications with every team member, being the perfect front man for the team are few things that can keep any team motivated.

Remember a de-motivated team can do nothing, even if each single team member may have loads of prospect.

Handling team members

It requires special skills to communicate effectively with each and every team member with varied kinds of temperament and character types.

There are various kinds of people, some are a wee bit aggressive, some too passive, some are overly enthusiastic yet un-realistic and some think they are catalysts of change.

With all these types the team has to perform to perfection and deliver excellence. It is the skill of the manager/leader to communicate the team goal effectively to each member and ensure that the team functions together.

Being their speaker

The team leader is the front man of the team and he/she has to effectively co ordinate with the stakeholders to ensure what they want.

The better you communicate with your stakeholders, the easier it will be for you to translate the team goal to your team.

It is also your responsibility to safeguard your team from excess pressure and other external challenges.

A ready reckoner for every team leader

  • Be a perfect leader and a manager of your team
  • Create the right mix of being the leader and the person who manages the show
  • Delegate work effectively
  • Keep every member motivated, the team functions better
  • Learn the art of handling different kinds of team members
  • Be their speaker, mentor and coach too

The spirited team player

The leader/manager has the responsibility of a leading and managing the team but the onus of performance lies with each and every member of the team.

Every institution prefers to employ candidates who are good and effective team players. Now what makes one a good team player. The following skills sets will enable you to be the perfectly spirited and performing team player.

Reliability and flexibility

As a team player you must be flexible in your ability to function and deliver as wanted by your team leader in the greater interest of the team as a whole.

Your ability to deliver will ties you in a bond of reliability with other team members and the team leader.

Be a part of the solution not the problem

A good team player has the ability to perform under stressful conditions. Rather than pondering over the problem, you will be marked higher if you can act together with the team and troubleshoot to a solution. Evert team leader prefers team players who have the ability to find solutions.

Treat others respectfully and create a harmony in the team

It is an absolute no for team player to be doing things that may hurt the larger interest of the team or threaten to create a disharmony in the team. A good team member reflects the ability to bond with the team and perform in harmony. Respecting others and being disciplined is also another essential quality of a team player.

An active listener

A good listener is always preferred over a poor listener. If you do not listen with awareness you will not be able to receive what your team leader has to instruct. If that happens then the functionality of the team as a whole suffers. Being an ardent listener solves lots of problems and saves time too.

Try to communicate with ease

Every team needs people who speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others and for the work of the team.

That’s what it means to communicate constructively. Such a team member does not refrain from making a point but makes it in the most respectful and amicable manner possible – in a positive, confident manner.

The ‘Make it happen’ type

Good team players are essentially active participants. They come well prepared for team meetings, listen, and speak up in discussions.

They’re fully engaged in the work of the team and do not sit passively on the sidelines. This keeps the player and other members of the team motivated too. He/she is a valuable asset for any team.

Types of team members

1-The perennial yes man

A person who always agree to everything which is proposed or discussed. A person who will agree to opposite sides of the agreements. He/she is either not assertive, avoids conflict or wants to be friends with everybody.

His popular response ” Good idea – Excellent plan”

  • How to manage these: Use them to kick start the meeting as they are excellent as cheer leaders and can draw the shy members to contribute.

Types of team members

2-The Negative Person

It doesn’t matter how many hard facts are behind a suggestion, this pessimist will be negative about an idea. The good news is that this team member does usually come up with good alternatives. He/she most used phrase is ‘This won’t work’

  • How to manage these: Treat this team member with tolerance and patience and ask them give the logic for their belief. Also do not ask them to give their opinion first.

Types of team members

3. The Workhorse

The workhorse is the person who could end up doing all the real work, once he reveals himself to other team members. As a team manager, you’ll have to keep an eye out for this possibility. There is a danger (if a workhorse is detected) that the team will pile all the work onto the workhorse, and the workhorse will burn out.

Usual response from a workhorse: “I’ll do that if you don’t have time.”

  • How to manage a workhorse: If you notice somebody volunteering to take on the work of his fellow team members a little too much, you should step in. By allowing the team to take advantage of one member, you will run the risk of letting the entire team fall apart. In the end, nothing will be accomplished.

Types of Team Members

4. The Flash-in-the-Pan

A flash-in-the-pan starts out full of energy and optimism at the team’s initial meeting, then disappears from sight. He volunteers a lot–then doesn’t follow through.

Popular response from the flash-in-the-pan: (On the first day) ” I would like to take responsibility for these”

  • How to manage a flash-in-the-pan: The flash-in-the-pan volunteers and is very enthusiastic the first day or initially but disappears after making male excuses. Should never be trusted with the critical roles. Best used for back support roles. To avoid this, you should keep an eye out for somebody who volunteers for too many roles on the first day. Make sure the job assignments are equitable and manageable.

Follow these to be a valuable team player

  • Be flexible when it comes to team affairs and exhibit traits so others can rely on you
  • Do not be the mess-maker, be the solution provider
  • Treat others with respect and be in your best behaviour
  • Do not create disharmony in team affairs, do not try to be different without a cause
  • Be an active listener
  • Communicate with confidence and with ease.
  • Be an active participant in all team affairs

Good leaders and good players make a good team

Just like you need good team leaders/managers for every team to perform, you must have effective team players who stick to the rules and perform top perfection. Only then can you have a team that keeps delivering excellence every day. The above mentioned guideline will enable team leaders to be great frontend of their team and team players will be able to function in perfect harmony