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5 Team-Building Tips from a Former Green Beret

Green Berets are known as “the quiet professionals.” Their operations are designed to be done in secret, and for their work to go largely unnoticed and unrecognized. To operate this way takes a great deal of planning, cooperation, and, teamwork.

Medically retired Green Beret Patrick Gaumond, had these team building tips to share in a recent article on TheLadders.com:

No. 1: Cross-train

“Good teams train everyone in everyone else’s roles,” said Gaumond. “If without John, Jim or Jane doing ‘X’ the whole thing crumbles, then you’ve identified a problem.”

No. 2: Give feedback

“Reviewing in real-time versus waiting for quarterly business reviews means everyone’s already talked about what happened and there are less surprises,” said Gaumond. “In all things, but most especially missions conducted in high-risk, low-support environments, the fewer surprises the better. It’s why we go to great lengths to plan.” And, “We’re solutioning, not criticizing,” added Gaumond. “Coming to the table with a solution, not just a problem, is equally as important in the civilian sector as it is in the military.”

No. 3: Empower decision-making

“In the special operations community, a wrong decision is leagues better than no decision at all,” said Gaumond. “If you do nothing, you can’t learn from it except to know that you should have done something.”

No. 4: Make good use of the past

“You can’t mass produce special operations soldiers just like you can’t mass produce specialized talent. There is a wide array of people coming from different educational backgrounds, with varying skill levels and experience. Rather than distance people from what they used to do, effective teams take someone’s previous experiences and find ways to hone them to the benefit of the current mission or job,” said Gaumond.

No. 5: Build relationships, not checklists

“If people don’t feel like you have their growth or best interests in mind, it creates an impasse that no number of BBQs or happy hours are going to harmonize,” said Gaumond. “To build a good team, start first by modeling what a good member of that team should be, and show them that you care.”

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