Howdy new captain!
It's super important that you and your co-caps get on the same page early in terms of management style and team goals, so together you can lead your team to the best season in history!
When working on a leadership team, it helps to understand your collaborators' perspectives. If you want to become a legendary captain unit this year, you're going to have to lay the groundwork early on, so that when inevitable disagreements do arise, you have a foundation of trust and respect to lean on to move forward.
What's more - you and your co-captains are going to be making big decisions together, problem-solving together, and simply spending a lot of time in one another’s company. You're going to do a lot of bonding with this person, so why not start now and have some fun doing it?
Here are 3 activities you can do with your co-captains to learn more about each other and help plan what kind of captain team you're going to be this year.
You can do these activities from anywhere in the world with internet access or you can choose to wait until you all get back to campus. Either way, we advise on piling up on snacks and drinks for your journey through co-captain bonding together!
Before you start: To help set the right mindset before delving into the co-captain bonding packet, we recommend perusing this article on 3 skills of effective captains.
Let The Bonding Begin
Ever heard of the famous NY Times article, 36 Questions That Lead To Love? It’s a series of questions that have been designed to create interpersonal closeness between complete strangers.
Of course, you and your new co-captains are not complete strangers and don’t have to fall madly deeply in love with each other (in fact, that would probably complicate things if you do...). Even though you probably have known one another for some time now, there's always more to learn and bond over! These questions will help you and your co-captains understand one another on a deeper level so that you can meld yourselves into a unit and together, seamlessly lead the team this upcoming season.
What do I do?
We’ve added our own modifications to the original NY Times article to keep you on the subject of ultimate. Go through the questions in order, having each co-captain answer before you move onto the next one. There are three sets, the idea being that each set gets more and more personal. It might sound cheesy, but let yourselves get into it and it will be a lot of fun.
And no sweat if you and your co-caps aren't physically together - doing them over Google Hangouts works too!
Time estimate: 3-4 hours
Develop A Shared Mission
For obvious reasons, you're going to want everyone to start the year on the same page. First, have each captain fill out the questionnaire below about communication and leadership styles. Noticing differences in communication styles is crucial to making sure that the year goes smoothly.
Once you’ve drawn out some differences, it’s time to get into the similarities. Do this by collectively defining what a successful year is going to look like for the team. Is this going to be the year to attend College Championships? Is this the year to recruit and rebuild? Is the goal to make this year even more wacky and fun than last year? (If it is, you should apply to become a Funbassador team!) Or do you still need to figure out what the rest of the team wants?
Whatever it is, come to an understanding with your co-captains by discussing the following questions together:
1) What is your definition of success for the team this year?
2) What can each of us do individually and as a group to communicate that concept of success to the team?
3) What does the team have to accomplish to achieve that success?
If all the captains have different ideas of what success is going to look like, that’s okay. Talk about how you can align your goals into one. If one captain’s priority is good spirit and another's is winning, think about how those goals can support one another. If that’s the case, the season will only be a success if both of these goals are met together.
Remember, you’re not dictators, so whatever you decide, taking feedback from the team is going to be crucial to making this year a success!
Time estimate: 20-35 minutes
Take it to the next level: If you're rearing to go after you complete all those activities, check out this post about setting goals and expectations for your team (fall version coming soon!), and this post about season planning to take the goals you set for the team and start figuring out how you're going to implement them on a micro level.
Make It Official
Having formal documentation of your agreements across the leadership team helps keep everyone on the same page and avoid unnecessary drama and miscommunications later on in the season.
Get a Captain's Contract in writing to explicitly establish how you prefer to work together and to hold each other accountable for everyone's role in the partnership.
What do I do?
Download it, print it, and share it with your co-captains. It has room for you to fill in any guidelines or goals that you want to set for yourselves together, as a leadership team.
If you have a coach, you can choose to let her or him in on the decision-making or, if not, make sure to let them know what you’ve decided once you’ve finished.
Here are some examples of good ground rules, but of course, feel free to think of your own:
- "We promise to do our best not to contradict one another in front of the team." Even if someone tells the team to do a different drill than you had previously decided on, or starts warm up when you had agreed to talk first, go with it as best as you can. It’s important that the team hears one cohesive voice from the leadership.
- “What happens in a captain’s meeting, stays in a captain’s meeting.” Vegas rules.
- "We agree to only say positive things about one another to our fellow teammates.” If you’ve got to vent, do it to a non-frisbee playing friend. You must have at least one of those, right? How bout a mom?
- “Our goal as a leadership team is to create an environment where our teammates look forward to coming to practice.”
You probably want to revisit these before spring, but this will help you go into the semester with a shared understanding of what you expect from one another.
Time estimate: 30 minutes - 1 hour
keep the bonding going!
Once you've got your leadership team on the same page, head over here to see how you can bring your whole team in on it and grow a team culture of questionably unhealthy teammate obsession.
OVER TO YOU!
Do you have any tips for leadership cohesion? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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