The Keys to Effective Teamwork: Lessons from the Football Pitch to the Workplace

Few England teams have come as close to reaching football's biggest prize as England's influential World Cup squad. Although they did not reach victory, they were the first lineup to reach the semi-final stage in 28 years.

Gareth Southgate transformed football for the players amidst the burden of heavy expectations to perform as a humble, determined team. This was considered in 2018 as one of the best examples of teamwork in sports. Let’s find out how they did it and discover the key features of good teamwork.

Positive Leadership

Southgate worked alongside, head of team psychology and development, Pippa Grange to create an effective training environment. Using techniques such as encouraging the squad to avoid the use of phones and engage in games and activities such as playing on inflatable unicorns after their triumph against Tunisia in the group stages showed its important to have fun and build teamwork in the workplace. The team were also not banned from social media, however, it was suggested the usage was limited due to comments in the press potentially causing a lack of motivation.

Reframing Emotions

The semi-finalists adopted a positive mentality by creating a feeling of freedom rather than fear. This was evidenced when Harry Kane was seen to restart his penalty after he was interrupted. This rehearsed routine is a favourable way of eliminating fear, as it reduces the chance of rushing which could be counterproductive in times of pressure. England's strikers were also encouraged to see penalties as an opportunity rather than a threat, this a key piece of advice which can be embraced by businesses to create excitement rather than fear during significant events such as important meetings or interviews.

Viewing Failure Is A Progression Tool

Throughout the competition, Southgate ensured that the focus was on success rather than failure. Raheem Sterling could easily have been criticised for missing a golden opportunity, but instead, he was praised for his contribution to the team’s efforts. Discipline can only be used so far until it becomes demoralising, therefore Southgate showed that it’s important to keep the morale high in a working environment to see staff work at their optimal level.

In any workplace or sporting profession, it is also vital that you establish everyone’s preferences and cater to everyone individually as Kevin George, author of Soccology, says:

“to instil confidence in one player might be to give them freedom, for somebody else, it might be a lot of praise.”

However, praising singularly in a group environment may create a sense of favouritism, therefore, it is crucial to create a foundation of trust throughout the whole group.

Team Resilience

The key to maintaining resilience, which was used by Southgate with the England squad throughout the World Cup, is to promote positive thinking rather than fantasising. It’s important not to focus on the bigger picture and to work on the steps that lead up to the main goal. This technique is much less deflating and feels more rewarding working to sustain motivation.

It’s also beneficial to learn as a team. Sharing setbacks and issues in the working environment is good for reducing the likelihood of them happening again and also allows team members to vent about any problems and overcome them with the support of the rest of the team.

Your business could take on the same versatile yet successful approach when striving to beat personal bests and succeed as a united front, simply by booking one of our best football teamwork speakers. Our experts can explain more in-depth the keys to effective teamwork and how you can promote teamwork in the workplace.

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