Girl in batman style

How many people remember the “Trust Fall” exercise? Whether at camp…at a teambuilding session…at a company retreat. It’s a tried-and-true idea that hits at some of our primal fears (abandonment, anxiety, loss of control), not to mention the entirely real possibility of falling on one’s head. Of course, this never (or rarely) happens, because your teammates, friends, family and those catching you make sure it doesn’t.

So how, without ever having seen any of your catchers do any weightlifting, exercises or catching drills, do you simply fall into their arms and trust that you won’t fall?

It’s because you aren’t relying on one person – instead, you get the collective effort of the group. Not only are their interlocking arms more powerful than any individual’s (even the strongest in the group), but they also brainstorm around an order, a strategy and a plan for catching each member.

What you also find in the trust fall exercise is that, while the first person’s fall may be slightly nerve wracking, it gets easier and easier as each person in the group sees positive results. Trust can grow with successful execution.

While this is an exercise that can literally be used in an organizational and teambuilding realm, I think it can be just as powerful in metaphorical form.

The team needs a leader who can put himself/herself at the forefront of the group – a person who is willing to display trust in the gifts and strength of the team and willing to take a risk. With small successes (or significant successes if you are the person being caught), each team member can grow their own trust.

And, the team continues to mold and mesh as each person takes a different role, whether that is someone taking a risk or taking the lead or whether it is a weaker member who needs to be “caught” by the team.

Ultimately the trust fall works because each person understands that they have a powerful and effective group behind them, ready to rise to the occasion. Think about how you are utilizing your own team and where each person’s trust resides…and then take a risk and help your team come through!

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