As I look back at any successful team that I was a part of – be it in business or in sports – we had similar qualities as players and coaches. Good teams have good players; however, great teams have great teammates. Think about that and reflect back on the great teammates you’ve had. Were they always looking after each other? Leadership always starts from the top of any team, but it must be implemented by the players on the field. I wholeheartedly believe that we as teammates and/or co-workers must look after each other and also hold each other accountable to ensure the success of the team.
Last year, I was honored to speak in front of my former college (Central Washington) where I played quarterback in the mid to late 1990’s. One of my passions has always been around building relationships. True relationships that are built on trust, respect and integrity. The type of relationships that you will do anything for someone. Those relationships are always built over time and built organically. Do you have those relationships in your business life or just your home life? I would challenge you to have them in both scenarios, which will tell you that you are always being genuine as a person.
The purpose of my speech to these young men was threefold:
1. Maximize your time while you are here in college. The pain of working hard is nowhere near the pain of regret, so leave every ounce of effort in the classroom and on the football field.
2. I quoted the great Tommy Lasorda and reminded them of the three types of people you will encounter in sports and business: “Those who watch things happen….those who wonder how things happen and finally, those who MAKE things happen.”
3. As you look around you, the relationships you build will last forever. Whether you’re on the practice field or game day, enjoy every moment and strive to earn each other’s respect day in and day out.
I challenged them to think about those three points and focus on making things happen, as that is what drives great teams forward.
Those are principles that were taught to me and I knew that it was my job to pass along the wisdom to them. These values I shared with those athletes are now instilled in me and have helped me achieve considerable things in my career. A simple but very impactful example is how I treat those around me. No matter the role you play, I always treat everyone with respect and make them know how important their role is to the overall success of the team. Unfortunately, this is the golden rule of life that isn’t practiced enough in our daily lives.
Over my career, I’ve seen many experienced people treat those who are in support or administrative roles very poorly. As I mentioned above, this is an unfortunate reality and not surprising when people make this choice as they will receive terrible results from those team members. I was taught, and now implement, the power of empowering those people around you. It is so rewarding and exciting to see your teammates achieve goals or tasks that they didn’t think they could do so just by offering them some encouragement and instilling a positive attitude. You will be amazed to see what others will achieve when inspiring confidence through them.
Let me provide a sports analogy for you. If you were my wide receiver and I called a pass play in the huddle, would I call the play and remind you to please catch the ball? Of course not! I would call the play and tell you “c’mon….run a great route here and let’s go score.” I would never put that thought in your mind as I only want you thinking about a positive outcome that I know you would achieve.
Every day, no matter the situation, we all have a choice. We are what we allow- not only for ourselves but also for our teammates. Poor teams usually have common similarities: finger pointing, lack of leadership, lack of trust or even integrity issues. Successful teams won’t allow negative behavior that will bring the team down. I am so thankful to work on one of the most productive and successful account teams at Kforce, and it is all because we trust each other and hold each other accountable to the highest standards.
I would love to hear from you so please share your thoughts and leave a comment.