“The best team won.” This is the overriding view of sports commentators, professional and amateur, throughout Australia after the British team retained The Ashes. Magnanimity in defeat is a quality that comes naturally to some and it is striking that it comes so easily in Australia (where coverage of their defeat has included fulsome praise for the British team) and to Australians (who seem to have a sunnier outlook than many Brits) even in the face of adversity. Sometimes it seems as if we, as a nation, find it hard to hide disappointment or acknowledge another country’s success against our own.
Finding a positive side, at home, at work and at leisure, can also seem impossible - yet doing so can help us get through difficulties with ease.
At work, decisions are made that contradict the wishes of many leaving some feel short-changed and, perhaps, a few feeling they can’t put up with their jobs any more. At home, disagreements over small things can turn minor issues into events that have enormous implications – perhaps splitting up relationships, severing contacts, changing lives. In down time in between, staying in control enough to cope with change can lead to an over-zealous approach to exercise, a compulsion to shop or clean, or a withdrawal from society.
Managing emotional reactions, improving performance and building resilience, can however be learned – with guidance from a professional.
Meanwhile, as a new year begins, many of us make new year’s resolutions that are founded more in hope than in experience - and that are bound to be unattainable.
Setting realistic goals – moving at an achievable pace, one step at a time – is more likely to lead to success, whatever the overall aim. Yet many of us reach first for the final outcome – the equivalent of winning The Ashes – forgetting that there are several steps – each Test – to go through before the outcome is known.
Professional therapeutic support can help you work out which steps to take, and how to pace them, to achieve your new year’s resolution so you can face 2011 with as much of a positive outlook as Australians have towards the future of their cricket achievements.
Team building, Success, Productivity, Performance, Morale, Communication, Commitment, Absenteeism,
With England riding high in The Ashes, a collective sense of pride seems to be sweeping through the nation. Even people whose knowledge of cricket extends no further than knowing it is played in whites on village greens have been caught up in following our team’s success, even if only in passing. At the same time we learned the disappointing news that Britain had failed to be chosen to host the football world cup in 2018.
Both events offer lessons about building pride and commitment at work.
With The Ashes, sports commentators convey the news enthusiastically on every medium – television, radio, print, the Internet – praising individual cricketers’ achievements and the team’s approach. There is no doubt that the team is pulling together and praise is being given to all as well as to each team player separately.
With the world cup announcement, all three leaders (prime minister David Cameron, HRH Prince William, David Beckham) spoke separately, but similarly, about the decision – praising the team who had put together an exemplary bid, criticising no one for their efforts. The overall message was everyone had done more than their bit; no one person was to blame; everyone was in this together.
These leadership approaches – giving praise where praise is due, shouldering the responsibility when things go wrong, communicating clearly to team members and beyond – specifically to build morale, commitment, loyalty, dedication and pride are typical in sport. They are less typical in organisations and businesses – though they are needed there just as much.
When morale is low, commitment, loyalty, dedication and pride plummet; absenteeism increases. Productivity and profits fall which puts jobs at risk, further depressing morale. Meanwhile, managers may be forced to focus on short-term targets, leaving staff to manage on their own, often in a communication vacuum.
This is when businesses need to adopt tactics used routinely in the sporting world – using experts (the equivalent of a team coach) not only to help devise ways of rebuilding individual morale and a collective team spirit but also to provide the hands-on effort needed to work with the team’s members and communicate with staff. We regularly act as team coach for the businesses we work with, rebuilding morale so staff and managers find it easier to work at peak performance.