Dare to Dream – What the Welsh Football Team can teach us

Considering they started as outsiders, the Welsh Football Team deserve to celebrate how far they went in Euro 2016. As a lifelong England supporter, I have to admit, they put us to shame.

This was a team that knew that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” a team who knew how to put aside the individuals’ egos and concentrate on the matter in hand.

Martin Luther King famously said, “If you want to move people, it has to be towards a vision which is positive for them.” The vision was positive for Wales, to be sure, and they went for it, big style.

What Coleman did with his team was enable them to perform effectively together and all work to their full potential. I can only guess at what went on when they were off the pitch but I’m prepared to lay money that he worked on getting them to really know each other, their strengths and weaknesses as people, as well as footballers, encouraging open and honest debate and feedback – in a constructive way.

Myles Downey, in his book Effective Coaching, says that creating a common vision is essential to effective team behaviour. As is what he calls “team think,” knowing what the other members of the team are going to do. He uses an analogy of a rugby team that was so in sync that each one of them knew where the others were so could pass without even looking. Think about the times when you’ve been in really effective teams – didn’t something like that happen to you?

Downey also says that it is important the team members understand each individual’s ambitions and motivations so that trust can be built. The team must understand what it is trying to achieve, what it is currently doing and what it has to do to achieve the goal. And finally, all members need to have a clear understanding of how the team will do what it has to do to achieve.

Just as players in a football team all have their specific roles, so do those of us in other teams, and it is important that we all know what they are and the value of our contribution. Lessons for all of us there, I think.

© Susan Shirley 2016
First published on SAS HR Ltd.

Share →