Set Your Team Up For Success And Keep Them Motivated

Coaching basketball is something that I will always look back on fondly. As a coach it’s fun to come up with sets and plays that will help the team win games. But in order for those sets and plays to be successful, the players have to execute them properly. In the end, it all comes down to having the players buy into your plan, and motivating them to be better than their abilities.

Some of the best ways to keep players motivated is to give them ownership and responsibility for their roles on the team, and make sure that they’re in roles that are suited for them. You can, and should apply this same logic to business teams too.

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Giving team members ownership of their roles makes them invested in the success of the team.

The San Antonio Spurs are a world class professional basketball organization that consistently puts a championship level team on the court each year. Juggling talent and egos is no easy task, but the Spurs seem to have a handle on it and teams around the league look at the them as the standard for consistency and excellence.

Coach Gregg Popovich is at the center of the Spurs success, and while he will be the first to defer any praise to the players and the front office, it is Coach Popovich that the players want to play for. Coach Popovich “doesn’t give orders, he assigns responsibilities. And this is the ultimate sign of respect.” (GQ.com)

Giving responsibilities to the players gives them ownership, and this makes the player invested in the team. A personally invested team member will be more motivated to get the job done well as they have more of a personal connection to the job or role.

But allowing the players to take responsibility is only part of it, Coach Popovich “sizes [the players] up, accepts them for what they are, and entrusts them with the tasks suited to them.”

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Give your team roles that best suit their skillsets.

There are a couple of things to unpack here. First, the notion of assigning responsibilities to team members is different from assigning tasks. If all you do is assign your team members tasks, you are not giving them ownership for their roles. Instead, you’re just giving them ownership over the tasks, which gets old and dry really quickly. If you want to motivate your team, give your members ownership of their roles. As a leader, you can set the teams goals, and in some cases even the strategy, but by giving the team ownership of their roles they can set the tasks needed to accomplish the goals. This allows the team members to be invested in their roles and responsibilities.

Second, you need to fit jobs with the people that have the right skillset. Honestly, this should be the first thing to consider if you want your team to be successful. Do you have the right people to perform the tasks at hand? Finding the answer to this requires you to have conversations with your team members to see if they’re the right fit for the team and for what’s needed. There might not be a whole lot you can do right away if you find that someone on your team isn’t the right fit for what you need, but then consider how to make the best use of the skillset that person has. People are much more motivated when they’re doing something that can contribute positively to the team.

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Is your team frustrated and not motivated? Have a conversation with them and find out why.

Lastly, you have to be comfortable with your team taking responsibility for their roles and completing the tasks they need to complete to achieve the team’s goals. As a leader, that means taking a step back and letting your team do what they have to do. That doesn’t mean that you walk away from the group and come back weeks later. You should still have constant communication with your team, you just don’t need to be a micro manager.

If you’re noticing that your team isn’t very motivated and it feels like morale is low, try taking a look at these three things and look for ways to change the status quo.

If You Want Respect, Take Responsibility

Respect goes a long way and is a currency that must be earned because it cannot be taken. It can be earned quickly, or over time, as a result of an action or inaction, but it requires proof or a reason. When you’ve gained the respect of peers, competitors, or strangers, you’ve done something to earn it.

Some people think that by attaining a position of power, it should demand respect. But I disagree. Those in positions of power should work to earn respect just as much as everyone else.

Showing respect and earning respect are two different things. I can show respect to someone in authority but I don’t have to respect them. If you’re having trouble figuring out if the people that you surround yourself with or have been given to lead respect you or not, think about who would come to your aid when you’re in trouble, and who wouldn’t.

And before your blood starts to boil when you think about those that won’t back you, stop for a moment and take a step back and really understand why they wouldn’t. Sure, maybe some of them are jerks or they’re simply jealous of you for some reason, but even the fiercest of rivals have been known to have a healthy respect for each other.

Earning respect starts with taking responsibility and owning up to your actions as an individual, and if you’re a leader, manager, or coach of a team, owning up to those too. It means standing up and taking the good and the bad, not just enjoying the success and passing blame for failures to someone or something else.

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” ~ Carl Jung

The Responsibility We All Have As Influencers

I give successful bloggers a lot of credit, somehow they find things to write about all the time. I’m not so good at that. So when I have a conversation with someone that sparks an idea, or if I happen to observe or read something that really strikes a chord, I have to write it down as soon as possible.

Social media has handed everyone a global platform, soap box, or mountaintop to talk, yell, scream, mutter, or whisper from. I’ve held onto the thinking that as long as you’re not doing anything illegal or harmful to someone else, how you use social media is completely up to you. I won’t tell you what’s the right way or the wrong way, I’d rather point to examples of methods that are used to successfully attain the goals that were set.

As with any platform or medium, there are people that are more influential than others. Influence can mean something different to everyone but for the sake of this post I’ll say that someone who is influential has the ability to create engagement or an action. That action could be a click, a like, a retweet, or simply starting a back and forth conversation. An influencer is able to generate a reaction to their action.

The question is, how much responsibility does an influencer have when their actions cause reactions that aren’t so great?

For those of you old enough to remember, basketball great Charles Barkley sparked a lot of conversation when he said, “I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids”. For the record, I agree with Mr. Barkley, or Sir Charles as he’s often referred to, I don’t want him raising my kids either. But if you have achieved celebrity status, or are a public figure, people will mimic and model themselves after you.

“I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids”

~ Charles Barkley

Recently I observed someone with a rather large social following make a comment about the choice of food someone decided to eat. The comment was negative, shaming the decision publicly. Given the individual’s large following, the comment generated a lot of conversation with people agreeing and disagreeing with the comment. Personally I was surprised that the comment was made, and then even more surprised by the defense used when called out about it. They claimed that the comment was made out of concern for the individual they were shaming. In my opinion, if they really wanted to help, they would have spoken to the person privately.

The shaming comment was obviously made to get a reaction from followers, as are all posts made on social media. If you don’t want a reaction to what you have to say, don’t share it on social. But I have to believe that there are better ways to get reactions than at the expense of someone else that doesn’t deserve it.

So were there consequences to that influencers actions? No, probably not. The person being shamed will probably never know that they were. For those that jumped in on the fun, they probably see the tactic as being ok, and that could have an effect later on but probably nothing immediate. If they were to mimic the influencer’s actions in the future could we point back at them and say they cause it? I don’t know, maybe not, but they certainly didn’t help positively. As for me, I know that from now on I will think differently about this person, and not in a good way, and I’m sure others will feel the same.

You might be saying to yourself that you’re not a celebrity, and that might be true. Maybe you’re not. But with social media, you’ve got access to people all around the world. I guarantee you that you’re probably influencing more people than you realize. What you say and react to matters, so think first before putting it out there.