Great Teams Refuse to Bounce Back
Today’s guest post is by Sean Glaze, an expert in team-building and coaching. You can read more about him at the end of the post. Here’s Sean…
No matter what kind of team you are a part of – corporate, athletic, or educational, you have likely experienced some adversity.
Perhaps you have lost games.
Maybe you have missed out on sales goals or suffered some other type of setback.
You may also have heard from other people (coaches or managers) who believe that the key to overcoming adversity is learning how to bounce back.
They are wrong.
Instead, you should seek to bounce beyond. Let me explain…
Did you ever see or play with a “Bop Bag” as a kid? I had one with Spider-Man on it. Basically, it was a large vertical balloon that had sand at the bottom to hold it in place. You would hit it and it would come right back.
And I think that, if I were to ask you your definition of resilience, THAT would be it. Most people believe that it is the ability to “bounce back.”
But who wants to pop back up just to get punched again?
Not me. And hopefully not you or your teammates…
No, true resiliency is not bouncing back – it is bouncing beyond.
Truly resilient athletes or salesmen or leaders in any field know that success through adversity is not found in returning to where you were beforehand. Success through adversity is found in growing beyond our previous skills, awareness, or circumstances and being better.
There is no shame in experiencing adversity. But there is certainly foolishness is repeating and not learning from or moving beyond it.
I have at times shared with my teams the difference between a tennis ball and an egg. That is another illustration of how great teammates grow beyond – and bounce higher – after adversity. When it hits the floor, an egg simply cracks and stays there. When you throw a tennis ball at the floor, though, it bounces even higher. It uses the force of the adversity to propel it beyond where it was previously… to get better.
Have you struggled through a bad season? Been frustrated by a difficult year? Suffered through a rough sales quarter? The key is to use those experiences as fuel for improvement.
We hear all the time about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). That is the lingering and often debilitating negative effects of having experienced something overwhelming.
But how we choose to process and respond to our experiences is the key to how they impact us. Some become frustrated or depressed or feel like victims, while others choose to claim control of their future and become more determined to succeed.
Steven Snyder, in his book Leadership and the Art of the Struggle, explains that in life, we should always remember the equation A x B = C
A is the adversity.
B is our behavior
C is the collection of consequences that we either enjoy or suffer through.
But it is out behavior – our decisions and responses to the adversity – that most determines what those consequences are.
We don’t need to be traumatized by adversity… Instead, we can choose to bounce beyond trauma or adversity and experience PTGB – Post Traumatic Growth Benefit! Don’t be an egg and crack when you fall. Don’t be a bop bag and just return to the same spot to get hit again. Choose to be a tennis ball – get better and bounce beyond the adversity!
If your organization or group is struggling with adversity, consider scheduling a fun day of team development to boost morale, resiliency, or leadership skills. I would also be honored if you chose to follow me on twitter or to connect on LinkedIn to receive additional information and teamwork resources!
– Sean Glaze has enjoyed motivating athletes and inspiring teams for nearly 20 years, and has consistently turned under-achievers into winners – both on and off the court – with his practical tools and focus on great relationships and team-building. As an experienced author, speaker, and team-building coach, Sean entertains and influences audiences with a unique blend of dynamic content, interactive activities, and practical action steps. Learn more about him here: www.GreatResultsTeambuilding.net.
I agree with the spirit of this column, but to borrow an 80’s phrase: “Where’s the beef?” The column is analogous to saying “be good.” Tell us how to “be the tennis ball.” Tell us what reactions under what conditions will enable us to bounce beyond. Is anger always a bad reaction to adversity, or can it be re-channelled into passion for what should be? Is humor in the face of adversity a good morale builder, or does it sometimes come off as sounding cynical or wiseass? What are some concrete situations in which your reaction created the “egg crack” or the “bop bag” and when did your reaction make your team bounce like the tennis ball?
Thanks so much for the comment. You are absolutely right.
The post as it is hopefully emphasizes that we should learn from adversity, and not just bounce back and repeat behaviors. Perhaps I can address this by sharing specifc examples in a future article, but my feeling is that we all “lose” – but the important thing is to not lose the lesson it provides.
Instead of being the egg and dropping your chin, leaders and strong teammates will shake their fist and focus on using adversity and it’s lessons as a catalyst for improvement.
Your question about HOW to be the tennis ball is a good one, though – and I look forward to sharing more on that soon…
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