High school hockey is a big deal in MN. I hadn’t tuned into a boy’s high school hockey tournament before, but given all the attention it receives, I thought I’d give it a try. I was surprised by what I saw. Sure, the skill of the players was impressive, but the strength of the teams was remarkable. Think about the pressure these young adults were under. They were playing in a huge arena with local and sometimes national news coverage, and to crowds of close to 22,000 people – larger than the attendance at many NHL games! Despite all that pressure, they played like pros.
With all the talk about building strong teams and positive cultures, it made me think about what these high schoolers were really showing us.
In order to manage the pressure and skate their best, those players had to have trust in their training, their teammates, their team, and their coaches. In the most challenging of circumstances, they came together, supported one another, celebrated their successes and claimed victory – whether or not they actually won the game.
So, think for a minute about how you behave with the teams of which you are a part. When the tough gets going, do you turn towards them, trust in their skills and look to your leaders for motivation? Do you encourage your teams to celebrate victories – big or small? And perhaps most importantly, do you actively engage in trusting and trustworthy behaviors every day?
When we truly commit to our teams, think about the “we” rather than the “me”, and intentionally extend our trust to others, we are helping to build a more positive culture. And when we are doing that, we will lead change and change leadership.