Lessons learned from the Maroon’s stunning Origin State Series Win…
The power of a supportive crowd cannot be underestimated. Just think about the recent Origin win by the Maroons (Queensland) this past Wednesday evening in Brisbane. They were arguably the underdog with a lot to lose coming into the third and final game of the series. There was not really very much difference between the Blues (NSW) and Maroons teams based on the results and play of the first two games as far as I could see: they hadn’t made any changes to players on the field, the strategy was the same and the results so far had been pretty close….
For sure, the deciding factor is that the Maroons got to play their final game in front of a home crowd of 52,500 supporters and fans in Suncorp Stadium, their home ground this past Wednesday. The roar of the crowd, the frenzy of excitement and adrenalin cannot be fully understood unless you have experienced it firsthand right?
NSW took the lead after 3 minutes, Queensland drew level in the 7th minute and from the 10th minute onwards the game was theirs.
What was so unexpected from 2 teams who were pretty evenly matched up to that point was how spectacular the final result was: 52 points to Queensland versus 6 to New South Wales.
The roar of a winning team’s crowd – nothing can compare!
How on earth did that happen?
And yet upon reflection, how many times have you seen a team play to win in front of a home crowd when the odds are either stacked against them or are pretty evenly spread between the two teams?
My most memorable moment was when Nelson Mandela unexpectedly walked out onto the Ellis Park rugby field in South Africa in the final game of the Rugby World Cup, on 24 June, 1995: South African Springboks playing the mighty New Zealand All Blacks.
The explosion of emotion and pride was something every single South African in that single moment in time experienced as one. For the first time ever, every single South African came together, united under a single cause of the Number 6 Jersey worn by Madiba and our Captain, François Pienaar.
A Leader’s Success Formula for Winning Teams
South Africa hosted and won that memorable event and I can tell you that all around Johannesburg where I lived at the time, cars blew their horns, people cheered, black, white, coloured, pink, white and purple hugged and laughed together well into the night and the days that followed.
I still well up with emotion whenever I think of that time.
And, the funny thing is: I am not even a rugby fan or even a rugby leagues supporter. Not really if you consider the 1 or more games a year that I watch with Origin State Series and the once in a blue moon affair because my husband is such an ardent fan….
That’s the power of a crowd united behind a common cause….
The power of support and encouragement from a positive and engaged team can never be underestimated. And yet, daily I hear from clients I train and coach that this is precisely what managers around Australia and the world tend to do. We underestimate the power of what we do through and as a result of our people.
We are so busy trying to get things done ourselves that our heads our down, our eyes intent on actioning and completing whatever task we are doing at the time. And, we miss out on the potential energy, power and support of the people who we’ve employed or have inherited to help us achieve our departmental and organisational goals.
Why you do this is not important. What is important is recognising and doing something to change the way you work.
You’ve all read the articles that support the idea that you say thank you to your staff for a good day’s work – even though you have paid them for it!
And I am a big fan of thank you myself.
But what I want to focus on here is how to leverage the energy inherent in your team to boost your performance.
These are simple ideas. But it takes commitment to change to make them work.
In my experience those managers who are willing and open to use these 5 tools and make the necessary commitment to change come out on top. The majority of managers however are too caught up in statistics and data and doing, doing, doing.
Here are 5 ways that exceptional leaders create winning teams:
1. Provide coaching and mentoring
I have been a proponent of coaching the whole of my professional life, ever since I underwent a stringent programme with Carol Bagattini in my early days of training and managing a team. I was a driven, focused manager, always looking at what my team could do to improve and not really noticing what they had done well because it was what I expected after all.
Coaching changed all that.
What coaching does is transfers the power from you to your staff. We all are quite capable of solving our problems and challenges, however a lot of the time, we have been so conditioned to look outward for the answers, we don’t know how to find our answers within.
Make time to learn the art of coaching your team: Once they know that you stand behind them and that you are there to support them, they will flourish
2. Watch your Ratios
You can always feel the energy of an engaged and motivated team. Those teams who receive and give positive encouragement and recognition to each other and receive it specifically and regularly from their manager are the teams most likely to outperform their peers.
Marcial Losada’s work on this provides insights into how powerful feedback can be. In his research, he found that a ratio of 2.9 (ie, almost three positive statements for every negative one) is the key point, above which individuals, business teams and even marriages flourish. Positive statements included support, encouragement and appreciation. Negative ones included disapproval, sarcasm and cynicism.
In another study he found that, in a sample meeting, high-performing teams had a positive/negative ratio of 5.6, for medium-performance teams it was 1.9 and for low-performance teams it was just 0.4. High performing teams also spent far more time on inquiry, rather than advocating existing viewpoints, and on talking about others rather than about themselves or their company.
The point: focus on what your team are doing right and give them positive feedback on it. Most people know what they are not doing so well and don’t need you to reinforce this for them.
3. The What, Why and How
Create a meaningful set of goals that everyone has to achieve. I call this the WHAT of goal setting and buy-in. Be sure not to forget to tell them WHY you want them to do this and the share the value and benefits these goals will bring to them personally and the team professionally. Check out Simon Sinek’s work on WHY here.
The most crucial part of this threesome is the HOW. As a leader your job is to allow your people autonomy to come up with ideas on how they can achieve the individual and team goals you set them. What this does is allow for them to connect with your goals and make them theirs.
You still have the final say in how their how gets implemented but the point is that you allow for them to be involved in the goal process in a meaningful way.
4. Recognise and work with their strengths
I can’t say this strongly enough – your brain is set for threat unless you hit the reset button. What I mean by this is that we have to recognise how our brain works in order to fully harness our own and our team’s full potential. Our self-limiting beliefs and fears hide beneath the surface and when times of change are upon us (like when is change not present in our lives these days?) they rear their heads.
This is why so many managers through the years have used the carrot and stick approach to motivate their staff: it works!
But the result is burn-out and resentment and resignations over time.
To build relationships and get to know people, their strengths and their weaknesses, now that takes time and effort. And time and effort distinguish good from great leaders.
Think about leaders you admire and look up to. They are people you have relationship with aren’t they? They have spent enough time with you to show their human side and to help you understand who you are and what you stand for and then they lifted you to a place you may not have thought possible….They helped you see your strengths and use them with positive effect.
5. Regular Review, Reflection and Celebration
All work and no play just makes for burn-out and stress. And, I don’t know about you, but I am pretty fed up with having to work so hard without any end in sight.
Be sure to take time to reflect at the end of a day, a week, a month, a project on what you’ve learnt and what you’ll do differently. This allows you to take important lessons forward into your next day, week, month or project and increases your likelihood for success.
And then, for goodness sake, celebrate what you have achieved! I don’t say this lightly. My personal experience is that the end result is made much sweeter when you celebrate your success with others who supported and were a part of the work completed.
Truly the mark of a great leader are the people whom they lead. Lead them well and they will reward you beyond your wildest dreams.
Just like in 1995 with Madiba handing over the winner’s trophy to Francois Pienaar, just like this past Wednesday when Cameron Smith raised the trophy for the Mighty Maroons!
Over to You
- What’s your success formula for getting the most out of your teams?
- What stories, anecdotes or advice have you heard that really works in motivating teams?
Until next time, I will
See you at the top!
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