Last season the 49ers record was 6 wins 10 losses. Coach Mike Singletary was fired. New coach Jim Harbaugh was hired. With essentially the same roster and no off season to practice due to the NFL lockout that would have allowed him some time to introduce his system, Coach Harbaugh led them to a 13 win 3 loss record and won their Division! On January 14, they beat the red hot New Orleans Saints to win their first playoff game.
What made the difference?
A player from the team was talking recently and said it came down to creating a true family atmosphere and adding a real sense of excitement and enthusiasm. The players felt accepted and a part of something special in a way they never had before. But there was one more thing.
He sold them on one fact
Coach Harbaugh told them they were good enough! He told them it didn’t matter what had happened in the past.
He told them that if they played like they knew they could they didn’t have to worry about needing anything or anybody else. If they did what they could do and wanted to do and were capable of doing THEY WERE GOOD ENOUGH! That gave them confidence. That caused them to relax and focus on playing to their potential. That caused them to believe in each other like never before. They stopped feeling inferior. They stopped focusing on their weakness and failures. They started thinking about what they were capable of doing. Result? They had a record season and are still in the hunt to win the Super Bowl!
What’s the lesson?
Maybe your people haven’t done anything special yet. But what most leaders do is constantly focus on what their team is doing wrong and how they don’t measure up. No one knows how good anyone can be but no one is going to play to their potential when they are browbeaten and made to feel like failures before they start. If you are constantly pounded about the things you do wrong, of course it’s natural to feel that you aren’t really good enough to win because you’ll forget that there are any areas you are actually any good in. So when the heat of competition comes, the pressure meets your doubts and you fold.
If you want to bring out the best in your team, let them know in no uncertain terms that …they are good enough to Win – and that you believe in them!