“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
- African Proverb
Business Dictionary explains a team perfectly in this way:
"A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members."
So what makes players want to commit without taking a "me first" approach that puts the team at a disadvantage?
The answer is simple: players engage when they see an opportunity to bring something of value to the table, and get something valuable out of it.
Thus, the responsibility of the team's leadership is to find value in each player and place them in a position where they have a sense of achievement and purpose.
However it is important to note that even when perfectly placed, a team member with low confidence levels can fail to perform at their highest potential on a consistent basis.
If you've been in a leadership role, you've been there: the person with all potential and no belief. They self-sabotage, act on false instincts, and inevitably make mistakes that cost the team major victories.
Therefore is important that your players learn and master the concept of Prime Confidence: defined by Dr. Jim Taylor as something that "keeps you positive, motivated, intense, focused, and emotionally in control when you need to be".
Check out the tips below on how you can increase Prime Confidence in your players today.
1. Use affirmations.
There have been numerous studies on the impact of affirmations to increase performance like this one by lead researcher Lisa Legault of Clarkson University who explains that leaders who are interested in the effectiveness of affirmations should be aware that "the strategy produces measurable effects".
In the sports world, we call them chants. I challenge you to create a chant for your team that increases their personal level of confidence, similar to these, to get them revved up before practice or the big game.
2. Identify team members with low self-confidence and pair them with mentors that can help to build their self-confidence.
Humans are creatures of habit and are more likely to do what we see in comparison to what we hear. Considering that, it's no wonder that research suggests that mentorship has a positive impact on self-esteem in adolescents.
Use internal mentorship to improve your teams' confidence. If possible, the mentor should be on the team - they have a stronger ability to influence their teammates in comparison to the coaching staff.
3. Closely monitor players during times of criticism to prevent shut down.
It's easy to lose someone with low self-confidence, and even harder to get them back. Criticism is not a bad thing, but understand that some team members will require more explanation and support during times of criticism.
Being able to proactively identify these members will improve your ability to dynamically lead each player in addition to the team as a whole.
Building self-confidence in each player is critical if you want your team to be apart of the winner's circle. Implement some of these tips today to take your team's abilities to the next level.
Gabriella Payne builds teams and communities through inspiration and strategic confidence development. She works with universities, athletic groups, and corporations to help students and recent graduates transform their mental thought patterns by teaching new, healthier habits. She is also an advocate for the prevention of domestic abuse and teaches a series called "See It Coming".