The spring semester is in the rear view mirror and now is time to develop your new leaders and build a better team. Whether you lead or advise your SGA, Campus Activities, RA’s, Student Life or any other club or organization on campus you’re only as effective as your team’s ability to work as a unit. All good leaders ask themselves the great question, “How do I build a team that can further our mission?” Individuals may be able to go fast but teams will go far.

Building a better team is like watching snow fall. One flake falls on your hand and it just melts but a number of snow flakes will stop traffic. Now is a good time to start a blizzard and Build A Better Team!

(1) Personal Development.

Most teams never focus on personal development. If they focus on it at all its under the umbrella of leadership training or team training – but never on helping students assess where they are, where they want to be and what strategic steps do they need to take to get there! The reasons this is so detrimental is that teams can only be built on the strength of individuals. The main reason why “team building” is not only difficult but often ineffective is because they neglect the only way to build one – FOCUSING ON BUILDING STRONGER INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE!

Here’s what this looks like: every semester you should have every one of your leaders set goals for themselves, both personal and professional. Then create a culture that expects accountability for moving towards those goals. This does two things: (1) First it makes people that aren’t willing to grow feel uncomfortable, (2) and second it creates amazing conversations. You don’t want people on your team that don’t want to grow and become a more effective team member – believe me this will drag your team down. And once again, this is why so many teams are struggling; because they have people that aren’t seeking to grow. It also brings up amazing conversations. People’s personal goals are very close to their heart. You get to know someone at a deep level when they share their goals with you. This allows you to be in a position to add value to people in a way that is most meaning fun to them.

True team development can only happen on the foundation of growing individuals.

(2) Team Development

Growing as a team is the pursuit of becoming more effective as one unit. This can only happen if the individuals on the team know 2 things: (1) The goal of the team and (2) the specifically role they play in the suit of those goals. Many teams suffer from ineffectivity because they don’t have clearly stated goals that the team is pursuing and people can’t clearly define their role in reaching those goals. It’s really hard to get results when we don’t know where we’re going or what I need to do to help us get there.

As a team leader you want to develop a few measurable goals with your team so that you know where you’re headed and you want to do a skill audit to see what roles people should play in helping the team reach those goals.

(3) Systems Development

Overwhelm, failure and discourage often come from a lack of systems. It’s easy to get overwhelmed on a team when I don’t know what to do, how to do it and who’s in charge of it. Systems allow the team to not think about why and who but rather focus on how. If we want to get 500 people to our upcoming event we should already know who the marketing person is, who is going to reserve the space, who is going to reach out to the agent to book the talent etc. Those are systems. We should already know who is getting name badges and is going to have markers at the check in desk so people can put their names on their badges, we should know who is going to line up the food, how much we are going to order etc. Those are systems. How we get people there should be our focus – but it is only when I have these systems in place that I am afforded the freedom to focus and work on this!

Building out systems is the equivalent to a lumberjack sharpening his ax. Stephen Coven once said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” It’s the idea that so much time and effort is saved when you take time to put the systems in place.

Make sure you check out our upcoming event SGAU: The Only SGA Training You Will EVER Need here: https://www.sgautraining.com/sgau

Check out some additional tips below! 

Great Student Leaders Aren’t Born,

They’re Made

The Role of The Chair

Civil Disclosure

Respect in Advocacy




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