Ep 168 Transcript - Dr. Chelsea Pierotti

Ep 168 Transcript

Episode 168: Team Bonding

Dr. Chelsea: Welcome to Passion for Dance! I'm your host, Dr. Chelsea, and I'm on a mission to create happier, more successful dancers through positive mental skills. And today I'm going to talk about building a cohesive team. And whether you're a coach at a school or teach in a studio setting, your dancers likely need to build a tight-knit team if they're going to be successful this season.

Traditionally, people think of connecting socially when they want dancers to be close, but there’s actually four types of team building and social connection’s only one way to build that tight-knit group. So, today, I'm going to share the four types of team building to work on this summer if you want to enhance team dynamics and have a group that gets along and works well together all season.

I also have a free download to go with this episode that covers lots of different team-building games. So if you need new ideas, you can check that out in the episode resources at www.chelseapierotti.com/168. There's a link in the show notes wherever you're listening now. Okay, let's talk about enhancing team dynamics this season so you can have happier, more successful dancers!


[Motivational Music]

Hi, I'm Dr. Chelsea, a former professional dancer and mental performance coach. I know what it feels like to be a passionate dance teacher who cares about your dancers, but you want to challenge them and help them be their best, and I also recognize that some traditions and teaching practices in the dance world are harmful. So I'm on a mission to change our dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers using positive mental skills.

When you understand how to help your dancers with their confidence, how to find their own motivation, work together as a team and more, your dancers will unlock new levels of competitive success and happiness. And it's not just about them; you deserve the same. So we'll talk about how dance teachers can use positive mental skills to be more confident, resilient, and motivated as well.

Be sure to hit “subscribe” wherever you listen to podcasts. There are new episodes every Thursday, and each week you'll hear from me and my guests with advice and actionable tips for building mental toughness, covering topics about mindset, motivation, resilience, and building a community. Passion for Dance is a show designed to help dance educators like you have a positive impact on every dancer you teach.

[Motivational Music]


Team Dynamics – 2:17

When we compete as a team, it's important to spend some time focused on team dynamics if we want to enjoy ourselves. Team dynamics simply means the relationships and the interactions between dancers, and then it's also how those relationships influence the performance onstage. We know that how well we get along and interact with the people we're onstage with impacts our performance, and that connection does involve the social side, but it's so much more than that.

It's not just something to think about over the summer either. I like to advise coaches to spend intentional time creating the team dynamic you want in this preseason time, but then you revisit it all year. And when you revisit all year, you can take a look at the four different kinds and see where you're having the biggest challenge and focus there. So the four kinds are good social relationships, as well as problem-solving skills, goal setting, and knowing your role in the group.

#1: Strong Social Relationships – 3:13

So let's consider social relationships first. Strong, interpersonal connections certainly contribute to a team’s success. When dancers feel like they belong and they care about each other, they're much more likely to work hard every day, be accountable, give their best. It's about building trust and respect among the dancers, which happens when you know each other beyond just who you are as a dancer. Your team probably knows who has a great style in hip hop and who do you go to for the counts, but what do you truly know about each other outside dance? One strategy to work on building stronger relationships is to spend time getting to know each other through things like personality tests or simply playing games and asking questions that have nothing to do with dance.

I recently had a team play a fun game during a workshop that allowed for every dancer to ask a question of every other dancer and keep mixing it up. New people, new questions every time. After we were done, one dancer said right away how she didn't realize she had so much in common with some of her teammates. This was a senior dancer who was trying to connect with some of the younger dancers, and you know, that normal transition that's always hard where they have a hard time connecting across classes, and right away, they were like, “I didn't realize we had so much in common.”

Asking questions like this highlights that common ground that you may not have found before. Something simple, like a favorite celebrity, or that you share a pet peeve, or maybe you both wish you had the superpower to fly. It doesn't matter. No matter what your approach, it helps your dancers to learn about each other, and you get involved as well, and it helps you find those connections that go deeper than their favorite dance style.

#2: Problem-Solving Skills – 4:48

A second type of team building is problem-solving skills, and, honestly, this one has probably the biggest direct benefit when it comes to the cleaning that you need to do later or when you have to make changes to choreography this season. This is where you're going to need the help.

The idea is to help dancers learn that if they are presented with a problem, they believe they're capable of working on it together and finding a solution. You're teaching them stuff's going to come up. “You're going to have a problem,” but they develop this sense of faith, of like, “Yep, we can do this. It doesn't matter what gets thrown at us, we're going to find a solution.”

Think about it. When you have to change choreography or redo formations or try to tackle a really complicated section, it's all essentially a problem that you hope everyone works together to resolve. To get better at this, you practice it. You can present small problems for the team to work through together, something like the human knot game or puzzles, escape rooms, things like that. Let them know that you are intentionally improving their ability to work together and you want to see them come together and solve the problem.

This also translates to social problems that might come up later with cliques. Improving team dynamics through problem-solving skills means that when there's a social rift at some point, and there likely will be, your dancers have the skills to handle it. Solving any problem has three basic steps of identifying the problem, brainstorming solutions, and evaluating selecting the best option. So if dancers practice that basic skill while playing games in the summer, getting out of an escape room, or choreographing together, then they can rely on that skill later when you have a bigger problem, like maybe an injury or a canceled practice the week of a big event. Your dancers are practicing the ability to not panic but work together to evaluate and find a solution.

#3: Good Goal Setting – 6:37

The third kind of team building that enhances team dynamics is good goal setting. Setting clear process and performance goals helps dancers not only work together on a goal but encourages everyone's progress, and it supports growth and helps dancers be more motivated and let go of the ego and work for their team.

There's a specific goal-setting method I recommend called the GWHOP method, which I explain in detail in episode 161. So you can go check that out. But the bottom line is that goal setting provides direction, motivation, and a clear measure of success. That's what's going to help your team dynamics. It keeps everyone working towards the same thing, and you’ll all know if you're getting there or if you're making some choices that are hurting your goals. So take the time to set clear, short-term process goals, and you'll see improved team dynamics as you work towards those goals.

#4: Role Clarification – 7:27

And finally, team dynamics are improved when everyone clearly understands their role. This doesn't mean just formal roles like leadership, but it's the idea that every dancer understands their ability to positively contribute. Everyone has a role, and then everyone can be called up to give their personal best.

I talked about role clarification in last week's episode as well when I explained how to create a high-performance environment, but the short of it is that each dancer should define their own role and understand their responsibilities. Be sure to communicate roles clearly for the entire team and spend time letting athletes generate the roles themselves.

On a school team, one simple way to do this is to get everybody together in front of a big whiteboard, create four columns (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior), and have each subgroup identify their own roles, and then you come together and add and delete based on the whole group conversation. However you approach it, the idea is everyone understands their individual roles that might come with being a rookie, being a veteran, how old you are, if you compete or not, but it could be individual as well.

However you figure it out, you want everyone to understand how they each contribute, so they understand that that contribution matters. They have to step up. New levels of that team building and better dynamics happen when you get rid of confusion and you improve accountability because everyone knows what's expected and everyone knows that they are capable and need to step up.

Which Area Speaks to You Most? – 8:56

So when you're thinking about team dynamics this summer, consider each of these four ways to improve, including building social relationships, learning to problem solve together, setting clear goals and establishing roles and responsibilities. And again, if you'd like more ideas for some fun games that will help you get to know each other, communicate better, simply laugh a little, you can download the team-building games handout at the episode resources for this show at www.chelseapierotti.com/168.

I think the best approach to this is to decide which of the four areas of team building spoke to you the most as you're listening right now. Trust your gut. You know your dancers. You know what your team needs. So pick one and focus on that one first. Then you can add in, and always remember that team dynamics need constant care. So if you feel things get off at some point during the year, consider which of the four is the source of the problem, and focus your efforts on that team-building area first.

Best of luck as you continue to work on this improvement season! I know there's usually a lot going on right now, and I'll be back next week with more mental skills, actionable strategies, and advice. Thanks for listening and keep sharing your passion for dance with the world!


[Motivational Outro Music]

Thank you for listening to Passion for Dance! You can find all episode resources at www.chelseapierotti.com/podcast, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more high-performance tips at @dr.chelsea.pierotti. This podcast is for passionate dance teachers and coaches who are ready to change the dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers. I'm Dr. Chelsea and keep sharing your passion for dance with the world.

[Motivational Outro Music]

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