Team attitude impacts team performance in many ways. You can see it, feel it, sense it and watch it unfold throughout the game. A few mistakes, a bad call, a below average pass, a missed opportunity, a fluffed goal or a silly foul, and before you know it the attitude has begun to impact the teams performance big time. What started out as positive, hopeful and encouraging, has begun to turn inwardly ugly, as team mates begin to bicker, belittle and blame their way towards a shocking overall performance. 

I am sure you have heard people say, “it was a game of two halves”. Often the only difference between the two halves, apart from the score, was the attitude of the team. First half, as things didn’t go as planned, frustration crept in, and the poor attitude followed. Not positive talk. No encouraging one another. No working for each other. As the minutes pass the team loses its edge and instead of playing as a team, they become a group of individuals playing on the same field. The team implodes, losing focus, direction, cohesion, unity and vision. Second half, after some serious coaching insights at half time, things begin to shift momentum. The talk is different, the blame has gone, the spurring one another on has returned, and before you know it the teams performance has lifted to a whole new level. 

Did attitude impact performance, or did performance impact attitude? Clearly both are correct. Our attitude definitely impacts our performance, and our performance can dramatically impact our attitude. When you are playing crap, or having a bad day on the park, and you allow that to impact your attitude, not only will this lower your performance further, but it will become contagious through the team.

The challenge therefore is to learn how to keep a positive, encouraging and focused attitude regardless of performance. Don’t let your team, or your own performance, determine or create your attitude, which in turn will continue the downward spiral. Instead, choose the empowering and resourceful attitude at the start, and watch it lift the teams performance. This is one of the key secrets to team success, but it’s often easier said than done.

So how do you help a team stay positive, focused and encouraging, even when things are not going well?

1/ it has to be led by those who have influence – It’s usually the captain, but not always. Who has the influence in the team? They are the ones who lead culture. If they bicker, belittle and blame, everyone else will also. Even if they don’t engage in it themselves, but tolerate it from others, they are creating culture. 

2/ own your own mistakes – blaming others is one of the fastest ways to create an unhealthy and non resourceful team culture. Take responsibility for your own behaviour, performance, attitude and choices. Stop blaming the ref, the bounce, the weather, the blade of grass that tripped you over, and it particularly your team mate, and just own it, and move on. 

3/ be intentional about lifting the team – it takes no skill at all to lower a teams morale and attitude, anyone can do that. It does take intentional and consistent effort to lift your teams morale and attitude, particularly when things are not going according to plan. If we allow the results we are experiencing to determine our attitude and focus, then we are playing in effect of the world around us, and not playing at cause, where we are creating the outcomes we truly want. 

Ultimately, a team needs to decide what they expect from each other, the culture they want to create and what success really means. If they want to be part of a culture that lifts others up to perform at their best, then a positive, encouraging and focused attitude is critical. Dump the blame, own your stuff, speak well of each other, spur one another on and watch the teams performance lift. 

Have a great day, Bretta.

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