How can I effectively co-captain an FRC team?
Can you be a little more specific? On your team, do you have 2 co-captains who both manage the entire team, or do they oversee different parts of the team? For instance, on my team we have co-captains who oversee different parts of the team. We have a Robot Captain who is in charge of managing Mechanical, Electrical, CAD, Safety, and Software. The Business Captain deals with Business, Out-reach, and HR.
In my team we have a captain and a co-captain
I don’t specifcally know what you are looking for, but here is one thing that I did:
Since I was named captain (in May), I have been reading about how to improve the structure and flow of our team. I read the series of books that talks about an “operating system” for businesses, that our coaches and leadership team can adapt for our robotics team.
I also tried to take the lead on some of our projects. When we were setting up meetings to talk to potential sponsors, I emailed a some of our sponsors and tried to make sure that the proper materials and the proper people were at each of those meetings.
People lead through different ways, but I hope this helped.
A lot depends on the structure of your team and how you operate. There are a thousand ways to structure and run a team, and advice you get from one team may not apply or be helpful for another. More specific questions would get you better answers!
I have a few follow up questions. I hope that you can answer them, because they should give us a clearer picture of what your role should be:
How is your team structured? Do you have subteams similar to the ones I listed for my team (e.g. Mechanical, Electrical, Business, ect)? It’s ok if you don’t, or if your subteams are different, but it would be helpful to know.
If your team does have subteams, do these subteams have student leads? For example, on my team each subteam has it’s own student lead, and the student lead is responsible primarily for handing out tasks to the other students on their subteam.
How many students are on your team?
Would you say that your team is student lead, or mentor lead, or somewhere in between? Again, to use my team as an example major decisions are made by mentors and student leads working together.
Have you asked your lead mentors/students what your role should be? Presumably you either applied or were appointed as Co-captain. Asking the person or persons (can be mentors and/or students) who made you co-captain what your responsibilities are is a good start.
I’m also one of the two co-captains of my team this year. I oversee the Business divison of my team where as my fellow co-cap’ oversees the Engineering Divison. Just talking from my own co-captain experience for this year and my observation of my co-captains last year I can say this…
Try to be a leader not a boss: Everything becomes so much easier when things are being done together with you rather than being done with you. It also gives your team/divison more trust in you as they see their work as a responsibility rather than burden.
Internalize your divison/team: Your division/team members will be the people who you will be seeing the most this year. More than your family in fact. Furthermore, these are the people you will be working 24/7. So it is essential that you internalize these people. Focus on their qualities, find out whats likeable about them, try to breach through eachothers weaknesses together. And most importantly BE THEIR FRIEND.
Be fun but know how to get work done: It can be quite hard to ballance fun and productivity at the same time. Especially if you get along with your members well. But the secret lies in finding the fun in the work. Once you find it things seem much more easier. Try to make people do what they are good at. They don’t say “The hardest fun you’ll ever have” for nothing.
Value everyones work: Just because you’re the captain of your specific craft does not mean that what you do is superior to the other divisions. All work and effort should be valued equally. Once this common understanding is accompished a certain respect will be built inside the team and harmoby will be easier to sutain.
Value your fellow co-cap/captain: Your co-cap/captain will be your stronget commrade for the season. If a stonger and the earlier this bond is formed, the easier and smother the things will go. Learn to argue without fighting to find better alternatives than the status quo. Always approach eachother with respect.
Although I have just been a elected co-captain this year I wanted to share my experience and thoughts. Feel free to critisize and add anything else!
Read that book.