With the Sounders season under way and Mariners’ opening day around the corner, I am reminded of my own spring sports seasons from growing up. I played all kinds of team sports, and those experiences still inform the way I work with and treat others in an office setting. After all, you’re not going successfully pitch a client by working alone. You need a team of players who bring their own skills to the table to get you to the next level.
One lesson I gleaned playing sports that’s still very much a part of my life and work is the value of a positive attitude. It’s pretty simple: the positive player is the one who keeps the team morale up, motivating others to work harder. People look up to them. They’re the team captain. They’re sought after and get the best opportunities because they earned them. They never give up, even when they’re down by 10 in the last inning of the big game.
The negative ones, on the other hand, are the ones who are complaining, throwing in the towel early, and bringing everyone else down as a result. No one likes to be around them. They’re roadblocks to success. And you know what? They're never going to get anywhere until they change their mindset.
In the business environment, working in a team is always going to be a reality. The team players are the ones who understand that the other team members may go about things in a different manner, but still embrace the differences for the good of the team.
Another lesson I learned from my more athletic days was the power of proactivity. Make things happen. Don’t wait for someone else to do it or for someone else to ask. Proactivity goes a long way, and you’ll end up with a result that no one even expected. Rise above the expectations.
Lastly, thrive under pressure and keep a thick skin. I was a pitcher for my softball team. If I got rattled by every hit and run, I would have been pulled out of every game. Sometimes, when the game comes down to your move, that’s when it’s most important to buckle down and do what you’re best at.
All of these qualities make a good leader and therefore, create excellent teamwork, which means success for everyone. What's your best teamwork tip ?