‘Tis the Season – Football that is… Put on your “game face” at work! It’s a personal choice!

Publication 12, Issue 8

Hope everyone had a wonderful and rejuvenating summer!  I did!  Now it’s football season, yes, all weekend I hear the roar of the fans on the TV – which, by the way, is blasting in the background while Larry and I are scurrying around the house working on “house stuff.”  I’m not a seasoned football fan, but I’m learning…and yes, I’m a NY Giants fan – and know it’s going to be a long season because they are 0-3 – see I’m starting to get this football stuff!

So what’s the connection between putting on your “game face” in football and at work?  As a football coach and in this case, one with an 0-3 standing, I’ve gotta believe that he feels pretty defeated, pressured to win and knows he has to do something different and do it fast!  But at a recent press conference, he looked confident and determined.  At work, managers feel the same way when the pressures and stressors heat up…an organization’s bottom line isn’t good, a new leader is joining the company or a product or service has received customer complaints.  So how can they respond?

Managers have a choice as to how they will communicate with their staff.  They can choose to take things personally, blame others or things for lack of performance, throw up their hands or not own the problems.  Just know that the staff will respond the same way back – and that usually never gets any team, anywhere!

Here are some strategies managers can use, immediately, to put on that “game face” in times of organizational adversity, uncertainty or change:

As Peacemakers, don’t beat yourselves up about something.  Instead, acknowledge and validate the talent on your team; recognize the dedication and commitment of the team members and focus on what people “can do” moving forward.

As Organizers, don’t get stuck “in the weeds!”  Spring into action by getting back to basics, back to the fundamentals; pick one or two things people can focus on and motivate them to put their noses to the grind stone and forge ahead!

As Revolutionaries, don’t jump up and down about something that isn’t working.  Rather, focus on getting things back on track, fast; stay upbeat and brainstorm ideas with the team to fix the situation and make the staff know that you’ve got their backs!

As Steamrollers, don’t over-think the issues!  Stick to the facts at hand; inspire the team by telling them you know how capable they are and talk about the things that make the team great in the first place!

Once you figure out how you’ll respond, think about the words that will motivate your staff to stay engaged too. Here’s a sample of a manager’s opening remarks to his/her team:

“Even though things around us might seem chaotic and unacceptable, everyone needs to know that we have a staff who is committed and dedicated; there are two things we need to focus on in the next 90 days; we need to move quickly and knowing that we have the top talent in the industry, we’ll make it through just fine!” (Of course, plug in the words that work for you and the situation you are in, you’ll get the idea!)

Good luck!

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