Having been to Wembley this week to see my team, Aston Villa, get promoted to the Premier League, I was struck by the manager, Dean Smith’s, comments when asked what he said to them before the game, to motivate and inspire. I was expecting some Churchillian quote or motivational speech, but instead it was ‘I just told them to be a good teammate’. How refreshingly simple. It got me thinking about the parallels in business (obviously not until the final whistle had blown and the hangovers had subsided) and whether I was a good teammate at work.
Like many others, we talk a lot about leadership and how much of a difference we can make when we are at our best self as a leader. But the other side of the coin is followship – once we as leaders have set up the climate where people can flourish, is each and every member of the team being at their best and looking out for each other? In football, it is more apparent in that if teammates don’t pass the ball to each other they don’t score and they don’t win. But the equivalent in business is ‘do we know enough about our colleagues to support them to be at their best, and are we able to let go our any desires we might have for personal glory for the overall good of the team’?
Following on from Mental Health Awareness week, it strikes me that this is a critical issue for this topic. The questions I think we need to ask ourselves are:
- Do I know enough about my teammates, in and out of work, to offer support before it is needed/requested?
- Am I prepared to take a back seat if there is a teammate better qualified or more passionate about a topic than me?
- Do I know enough about what makes my teammates tick, to enjoy their company, at work and socially?
- Am I kind to my teammates – have I checked that any teasing or banter is accepted as that? Is my ‘impact felt’ the impact I intended?
In my experience, there aren’t many people in this world who set out to deliberately harm others, and yet Mental Health cases have never been higher and people are feeling more isolated than ever before. Therefore my conclusion is that unless there has been a sudden, dramatic rise in horrible people, one of the causes must be people not understanding the impact of their behaviour on others.
My challenge to us all is simple – who is the person in your team that you know least about or have less of a natural connection with? What could you do to find out more about their lives and build a bigger relationship with them? You might be the person who heads off an issue or helps someone to feel a bigger part of things. And you might just need to work together in the future to score the winning goal!
If you are interested in how you can make a bigger difference as a leader or teammate, contact us to discuss our Achieving Peak Performance programme, or sign up for our free Resilience in Change taster on 3rd July in London.
David Tomkinson – firstname.lastname@example.org
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