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How to: Be a Team Player

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How to: Be a Team Player

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Hey all! Over the school year, I’m going to write multiple “How to” columns. I write them for two simple reasons: I feel in my heart that they will be very beneficial to any reader. And also because they’re fun to write.

Positivity. It seems cliche, but it’s one of the best way to motivate. By not snitching, not complaining or criticizing, listening to coaches and captains, and offering encouragement, your team (and you) will be able to do wonders.

Think of Brock from Facing the Giants. He death crawled the entire length of the football field blindfolded with his teammate on his back after being told that he could do more than he thought he could. After he finished, the coach hunkered besides him and said, “If you walk around defeated, so will they.”

When you’re negative or critical toward someone, according to pastor Norman Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking, you trigger the fight or flight response involuntarily in that person in under three seconds, which automatically decreases performance. The number one reason why people switch jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated in their work environment. If team members are not coming back next season, it’s because they don’t feel appreciated and don’t think their work mattered.

Once, a team mate and I were playing doubles in tennis. We were losing, and getting a bit frustrated. When it was time to switch sides, we agreed to only be positive. So instead of saying, “you need to cover the alley,” we said “you’ll get it next time,” or “good job, but remember to cover.” We ended up winning the match 8-6.

Negativity kills productivity whereas positivity produces team members who will invest more because they feel respected and valued. Peale states that positivity increases individual productivity in 91 percent of people. Positivity also increases individual engagement which leads to loyalty and more effort given. Positivity, by offering compliments and small pieces of encouragement, makes people perform better. How do you be a better team player? By being positive.

So next time you’re running sprints or losing a game, be positive. Don’t complain, only build your team mates up with encouragement. It’s tough, especially for more competitive people but only allow healthy criticism and positivity to come out of your mouth.

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