April 21, 2014
A Little Attitude Goes a Long Way by Gina Breslin
Field Hockey is a game where a lot of the rules are subjective and interpretation is left to the referee. For those of us who play the sport, it’s just part of the game. You learn at a young age that the referee doesn’t always get it right, and you are taught that one of the fundamentals of field hockey is to play until you hear the whistle – the call could go either way.
How you handle this aspect of the game can make a difference.
For the past number of years my indoor field hockey team has played against another team, a great group of gals who love to play the game. Their passes are on the money, their execution on corners is superb, and their shots on goal are deadly! But they continue to lose games because of their attitude. I’ve seen it happen time and again.
Here is how their games often play out. They begin strong and having fun. Then the referee will make a call, and one of their players will disagree with the call. By about the third call against their team, they begin to lose focus on playing the game and shift their focus to the ref. This focus on the negative, on the “bad” calls, is expressed in an audible sigh, a raised eyebrow, a sarcastic comment, a hand on the hip… you get the picture! Very quickly, the entire team is drained of momentum and energy.
The change in focus begins with the attitude of one player and eventually infects the whole team.
In his book, Developing the Leader Within You, John Maxwell states, “The disposition of a leader is important because it will influence the way the followers think and feel. Great leaders understand that the right attitude will set the right atmosphere, which enables the right responses from others.”
As leaders, we have the ability to set the tone in our organization simply with our attitude. We convey our attitude less by what we say and more by how we say it.
In a world where defining what sets your organization apart is a key ingredient to success, the “right attitude” from your team members can make all the difference. As leaders we are responsible for our attitudes. We may prefer to think our attitude just happens, but in reality our attitude is a choice – a decision that we must make, again and again.
So how do we go about making an attitude adjustment? Our attitude is often a combination of our thinking and our feelings. We can begin to adjust our feelings and our attitude by first adjusting our thinking. Maxwell lists six stages of attitude change:
Identify problem feelings
Identify problem behavior
Identify problem thinking
Identify right thinking
Make a public commitment to right thinking
Develop a plan for right thinking
What you think is what you are… and, what your team and your organization will emulate.