How does confidence help you perform your role even better? Further, how does your team culture and leadership help create an environment where confidence can grow and team members perform even better?
I have played soccer most of my life. I am not a great player but I run hard, get exercise and like hanging with the guys. Last year I ‘came out of retirement’ at 54 years old to play in an over 45-year-old league here in Winnipeg. (Yes, there is an over 45 league and the soccer is pretty good.)
I had fun last year and it was a good group. I didn’t play as well as I would have liked to and I felt that in large part it was due to an overall lack of skill and a few years of rust. In hindsight though I now get a sense there was something more going on.
One not so positive aspect of playing last year was that a couple people on the team took it really seriously and as a result, they would get frustrated and yell at other players. You could tell that some players were uncomfortable and were playing to not make a mistake, including myself. This in turn made others play nervous and guys make more mistakes! Which resulted in more yelling…
In close games and in particular in the playoffs, it wouldn’t take much to have a couple guys yelling at other guys and also yelling at each other. The more yelling and stress there was, the less effective some guys were out on the pitch (by using the word ‘pitch’ you can tell I am a real ‘soccer’ player).
I made the decision to play with another team this summer. After a few games I noticed something – I wasn’t a better player (too late for that) but I was making less mistakes. Hmmm?
I realized that this was based on a couple factors.
First, this team seemed to have more fun as a group and did not take the game so serious. They played hard and wanted to win, but they didn’t point fingers and blame other guys for a bad play.
Second, there is much more of a tendency to say good play or after the game, tell someone they played well today. They actually took the time to provide some positive feedback to each other.
Lastly, there is a clear understanding of who ‘runs’ the team. One gent has the role and he takes very much a ‘play hard and have fun’ approach to the game. I have noted a couple times during games early in the season he would make a point in subtly reminding me to not be so tight or worry about making mistake. That simple supportive comment went a long way to reminding me to settle down and play my game (whatever that is). And further if I made a mistake, no big deal.
I thought about this and realized that while I am still not a great midfielder and my best days are about 25+ years behind me, I am having fun and playing better – primarily because I am not playing afraid to make a mistake.
What lessons are you taking away from this from a work perspective? Think about the environment you work in or that you are helping to maintain or create:
Working (or playing) afraid to make a mistake can negatively impact the performance of the team. Let’s be more intentional about creating an environment where everyone is comfortable trying new things, playing their game and not being afraid to make a mistake. The results can be super star performance, just like the outside midfielder for the Elmwood Rowdies. Or maybe, you will benefit from individuals on your team being even ‘more better’ at what they do and sharing their ideas more freely.