5 Team Work lessons from American Idol

The kids watch it, so I wanted to make sure they get some teamwork lessons out of it....

Sure, it takes talent to make it on American Idol.

But how does teamwork figure in this talent show?

You take individually talented singers and make them sing as a team. Based on their team performance, you judge contestants individually. Interesting. Sounds perhaps a little like your job environment?

Here are some lessons I learned from watching tonight:

  • It’s about the harmony you create together; it’s not just about you. Individual talent is important, but do you sound good with others? If you cannot make your voice harmonize with that of others, it no longer matters that you are a strong singer on your own. Many teams did not pay attention to this and all team members lost out.
  • There is brilliance in each team member and some are downright inspiring. Look for it and you will find it. Tonight, the courage of a 15-year old was inspiring. Being kicked of his group in the middle of the night, young JC swallowed his tears and bravely found another group. He had to learn a song he did not know at all. JC did not learn all the lyrics, but got his group through. And the team that kicked him out? Well, even though they made it through one of them learned that victory is not very sweet when you get there in a way that is against your values. I think Scotty learned how important it is to live according to your values.
  • Work to each team member’s strengths. When your team member is a vocalist and musician and you focus your team practice time on intricate dance steps it means that your third team member cannot focus on learning the lyrics. In order for your group to succeed you need to play to each team member’s strengths.
  • Believe in your team members. When things got to be too much for one of the contestants, she wanted to quit and took time to think about whether she should continue. When she returned later, not wanting to let her team members down, the team welcomed her with open arms, believed in her and together they put on a shining performance. Their joy at the end of their performance boosted everyone’s confidence.
  • Be true to your authentic self and enjoy the experience. A group of 15 and 16 year olds rocked the house and beat out teams of more experienced singers. They showed harmony, creativity, fun and stayed positive. They were in flow, and it clearly showed that they loved being on stage. That energy came through in their performance.
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