In some sports, the term “skill player” is used to identify players who have more complex roles… and earn more money. On my team at Chick-fil-A, I need every member to be a skill player. There are two types of skills I’m interested in. Let me explain.

First, members of any team need the skills to perform their assigned role with excellence. I refer to these as Individual Skills. If you work in Marketing, you’d better learn all you can about marketing. The same is true if you work in Finance, Operations or Manufacturing. The competition is too strong to allow mediocrity at the individual skill level.

Next, each member of the team needs to learn Team Skills. To illustrate, let’s think about basketball. On a good team, each member can dribble, pass and shoot. Admittedly, some are better than others, but these are the requisite individual skills.

Now, in addition to these skills, each member of the team must learn the plays. The plays outline how the individuals will work together. The Team Skills I’m referring to are similar to the plays – they outline how the team will work together to accomplish their goals. The list of Team Skills can be long and vary depending on the team.

Here are a few Team Skills to stimulate your thinking:

  • Goal setting
  • Problem solving
  • Performance management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Meeting management

These Team Skills will multiply the Individual Skills and allow the team to accomplish far more together than they could working independently. That’s when the power of the team comes to life! You may be thinking: my team needs additional skills – both team and individual. You are not alone – no great team ever stops building skills. The good news, skills can be learned. As the leader, you have an opportunity to help identify skill gaps and create the plans to close those gaps. Here’s a quick exercise that may help.

  1. Identify the skills your team needs.
  2. Do a candid assessment – to what extent are these skills present?
  3. Pick one skill where a gap is evident.
  4. Create a plan to close that gap.
  5. Execute your plan.
  6. Pick another skill to develop, create a plan and close the gap.
  7. Repeat…forever!
    1. What skill gap(s) do you need to help your team close in 2012?

      Author: Mark Miller

      Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.