We were down 2-0 and I was standing on the sidelines watching the kids struggle on the soccer field. The other team had fresh legs and our team had already played one game. The other team executed on ball control and ours didn’t. When the other team drove the ball toward the goal, it was a team effort. Our team fell back and let one person lead.
These were the fundamentals that I was observing as a parent and coach. All things that can be worked on and developed with time and practice. But there was something else I observed while standing on the sideline.
Our coach wasn’t leading with positivity.
He’d throw up his hands when the kids made a mistake. He’d sigh and pace and moan like his hair was on fire. He spent more time complaining to the parents about how the kids just don’t listen, and how they just screwed off at practice, instead of engaging with the team and coaching from the sideline. He’d complain about not having the right skilled players, and how when he did find a good player they’d take them from him the next year. And when he did engage, it was more of a passive aggressive complaint to the kids. “Are you awake out there?” “Are you going to get the ball?” “Oh well, it’s all about having fun anyway isn’t it? Are you having fun?”
I don’t want to throw our coach under the bus. I think he’s a good guy. But I noticed how his dejection was rubbing off on the kids, and how the quality of their focus and energy diminished the more his attitude grew negative. Their excitement for the game was fading quickly each time the other team scored, and they didn’t have positive reinforcement from the sidelines to keep them motivated.
There’s an important lesson here, Coaches and Leaders. Your team will develop personally and professionally only as far as you are willing to guide them. Your team will drive results only as far as you are willing to lead with positivity. Your attitude will influence the culture of your team. This is true on the elementary school soccer field as much as it is in the sales industry (or any other space for that matter).
If you want to lead others to greatness, you need to serve them with greatness. Your attitude matters.
On and off the field.