This Wednesday I had my first speaking opportunity. I spoke to a youth baseball team on how to be great teammates and be a leader on and off the field. I believe that we all want to be on a great team, whether it’s on an athletic field or in our workplace. This week we are going to discuss three things we can all do to make our teams better, so we can all be a part of something special.
Before we get into three rules that all great teams follow, we must discuss the most important priority. The most important priority is preparation. Preparation allows us to meet challenges and gives us the confidence, skill, and knowledge to overcome them. One can be ready for a challenge, but preparing mentally and physically is what separates the great from the good. So don’t just claim to be ready; prepare to win, expect to win. That is a mantra I learned from my football coach (who is also my uncle) and still live by today.
Now that we understand the value of preparation, let’s discuss the first rule that all great teams follow: Treat people nicely, even when they don’t deserve it. This is very hard to do because a lot of what we see through mass media teaches us the opposite. Reality TV tells us that we must be cunning and if someone “disrespects” us that we must make him or her pay. Well in order for your team to be great, teammates must be willing to treat each other with kindness. Always remember the phrase, “Kill them with kindness.” In life and on sports teams, we will encounter people who we may not like or get along with initially. We must be willing to treat people with kindness and respect. In the end, if this approach does not win the person over, you most likely don’t wont them on your team or they will do something that will ultimately remove themselves from the team. Remember that kindness is always the best approach.
The second rule that great teams follow is to have a great team attitude. There is much to this rule and I’ll offer a few examples. If you’re going to have a great team attitude, everyone on the team must be willing to listen to others and be willing to share the spotlight. Great teams understand that all team members are important and everyone’s voice matters. Another example is that great teams do not talk behind each other’s backs. When there is disagreement or conflict, great teams take care of it in person and immediately. They do not let the situation brew and become something bigger than it truly is. They also do not go around and bad mouth the person they are in disagreement or conflict with. Great teams keep things in-house, they do not air their grievances in the open. Lastly, great teams are courteous to all and do not put others down, especially team members. In order to truly have a positive team culture all team members have to be considerate of others. I am convinced no team will ever reach its full potential if team members are putting one another down. Team members must be courteous of each other’s feelings and this leads us into our final rule.
Our final rule for great teams to follow is to adopt a “We Before Me Attitude.” This rule is critical for success. When teams truly adopt the “We Before Me Attitude” they are able to run themselves. Through this rule team members develop a deep sense of trust and all great teams have to have trustworthiness. Another thing that happens when this rule is adopted is teammates act unselfishly. There must be no agendas other than do what is best for the team. Team members must constantly keep this is mind, “Team above all else.” As the legendary coach John Wooden said, “It’s amazing what happens when no one cares who gets the credit.” This quote embodies what being unselfish is truly about.
In closing, great teams have team members that know their roles. Not every one can be the point guard, the one who takes the last shot, or the point person who delivers the big sales presentation. Just as athletic teams have individuals who have roles as bench and or practice players, successful businesses have people who work behind the scenes researching, creating art, or balancing budgets. When teams are successful the members without the flashy titles or headlines know and feel that their contributions are valued and appreciated. The leaders on the teams must make sure that they take the time to publicly and privately acknowledge these team members. When everyone on the team knows and feels appreciated, it is much easier for everyone to be on the same page and work toward the teams goals. Great teams know that not all roles are the same or will receive the same attention. However, they also know that no matter how big or small the role may seem to the public, it is essential for their team’s success.
There are many other things that great teams do, but I firmly believe the three rules we’ve discussed today are the most critical for making great teams. I also believe these three rules help cultivate leadership. Any coach will tell you, a team can never have enough leaders on it. That is what my message was to the youth baseball team, and it holds true for any walk of life.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Be sure to check out http://eca.koobah.com for info and registration for our basketball coaches and youth skills clinic on May 11, 2013.