Lessons from a gym bleacher in 3rd period.

Last week I was clearing off my desk and I found a slip of paper saved from last September’s curriculum night at my daughter’s high school. Sitting on a gym bleacher during ‘third period’, I had listened to the PE teacher talk about his coaching style. Using a scrap of paper torn from his notebook, the coach walked a group of parents through the way he starts a season.

As I listened, I began to reflect on what it takes to build a team. I’ve been leading people for most of my working career, so I really appreciated the simplicity of his approach. It’s all about the effort you put in and inspire in others, building trust, and having a good attitude. And of course, being resilient in tough times, all while building on the successes you have.

The core fundamentals are the same, whether in sports or on the job.  Thinking about my own team, and the work I’ve done over the years to build a strong, cohesive group, I saw that his scrap of paper closely mirrors my own mental map.

Quality improves when your people see that you’re putting in the time, and care deeply about what you deliver.

Trusting people means giving them the space to get the job done, leading instead of doing it all yourself. Coaches don’t score goals – players do. And the flip side is being trustworthy, supporting your team, and letting them know you have their back.

When it comes to attitude, I’ll take a positive, can-do style any time. I like to surround myself with people who care, who believe in what they’re doing, and who take action.

Since I’m a marketing services provider, the workload is highly variable, based on clients’ needs. Nothing makes me happier than hearing a client say, “Good job – we saw awesome results.” But in this world, there are no givens, so I’ve learned to stay tough and keep fighting the good fight. My team follows suit. We’re in it together. That’s what keeps us strong, and helps us find success.

Time to head back to work, back to my team, with a reinvigorated appreciation for what we’re building, together. And who knows what inspiration this year’s curriculum night will bring?!

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