What Makes a Great Team

great team
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As a gym owner, you may be wondering: What separates a good team from a great one? 

According to author Craig Weber, the key differentiator is “conversational capacity,” or “a team’s ability to have open, balanced, non-defensive dialogue about difficult subjects.”

Weber recently spoke about this subject to fitness leaders at an event in San Diego, explaining the inability to have open conversations can lead to mistakes and an overall lack of performance. 

“A team with high conversational capacity can perform well, remaining on track even when dealing with their most troublesome issues,” explained Weber. “A team lacking that capacity, by contrast, can see their performance derail over a minor disagreement. Because it directly determines how well a team works together under pressure, conversational capacity isn’t just another aspect of effective teamwork — it defines it. A team that cannot talk about its most pressing issues isn’t really a team at all. It’s just a group of people that can’t work together effectively when it counts.” 

As a result, Weber encourages leaders to strive to cultivate a culture that supports openness, candor and curiosity in understanding someone’s point of view — the main tenets of conversational capacity. 

This requires setting the example — meaning as a leader, you need to learn how to have tough conversations that are not only open and honest, but devoid of ego and unproductive emotions. 

“Each and every one of us faces moments when we’re ‘triggered’ that lead us to have ineffective conversations,” said Weber during his talk. “And when we’re triggered, curiosity and candor fall to the wayside. Learn to recognize when you’re triggered — keep a journal of those moments, how it affected your behavior, and what to do instead the next time it happens.” 

According to Weber, there are three steps you can take to limit the frequency of being triggered: 

  1. Catching it. 
  2. Naming it. 
  3. Taming it. 

“Then refocus on what really should matter in the conversation,” added Weber. “What should matter is learning, getting smarter and making the best choice possible.” 

Once your team sees you setting the example of conversational capacity — they’ll follow suit. And the result may be the difference between your team being not just good, but great. 

Rachel Zabonick
Rachel Zabonick is the editor-in-chief of Peake Media. Contact her at rachel@peakemedia.com.