business development

Battle Scars, Kintsugi, and Team Building


Are you familiar with Kintsugi? No, I’m not talking about the gem of an album by Death Cab For Cutie (happy to blog on that one at another time), I’m talking about the Japanese art form of Kintsugi.  Literally translated from Japanese to English, it means "golden repair." It's a reference to the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with gold, silver or platinum. It's also a philosophy that treats breakage and repair as part of the history of the object rather than something to disguise. 

It’s human nature to cherish and discuss our successes, but we actually learn and grow from the mistakes we make. We can create our own personal pathways to success by evaluating where we've been and use them to guide where we could be going. When we stumble and fall, we tend to focus on the breakage and damage - instead, imagine shifting that focus to the repair. In Kintsugi the repair is so sacred that they use precious metals. They are highlighting the failure and finding beauty in it.  What does this have to do with team building?

Developing High EQ

Being part of a team means making mistakes; sometimes those mistakes impact the individual other times they impact the entire team.   At the end of the day in order for a team to be high functioning you have to take the time look in retrospect and get to the core of the choices.  In order to do that you need to be able to communicate effectively. That means taking the time to both vocalize the concerns and then listen to the feedback so that you can respond.  Notice the word choice here, I said respond, not react. This is about building high EQ skills within your team – that all starts with effective communication. Share, listen, learn, respond which all leads to growth.

Battle Scars Are Cool

We've all got them! These battle scars are what make us unique, they are a map of teams accomplishments.  They are unique the the team and the projects you've worked on. While they may have been painful in the making, they should be cherished - they are now part of your personal wisdom. Sure, we'd all like the occasional "do over" but think of what you learned while enduring some temporary pain. Those lessons are the ones you can't learn in a book, you have to have experienced them to learn them... and once you do, they are yours. You own that knowledge and it can be sacred part of your success down the road.  As your team grows and learns from their collective experience, let the battle scars shine as personal gold-laced Kintsugi on your team.

Interested in learning more about how Drum Team Collective can help improve team dynamics, communication and repair challenging dynamics?  Reach out to us at