Being a leader in any capacity will always ask you to help increase others productivity. Without any thought, often we naturally just ask the person to do the task needed…now!

A little over 6 years ago, in California, I was helping a soccer team go through and identify their team building process. The team was ok, as skills go, but we (coaches & returning players) knew that they could be better. We had a team of great potential.

We had one outspoken captain who was just naturally skilled and had a high motor. She wanted to win so badly and the coaches noticed her and that’s one of the reasons they made her captain. Here is where the first issue arose.

She wanted the other players to have at least the same work ethic that she had. She really wanted to have the best shot to win and knew that strong practices would get the team there.

She yelled. Barked. Stared. Looked flustered at the mistakes of others.

Then finally she came to me and asked, “How do you get people to do what they are supposed to be doing?

I said, “I don’t know. What have you been trying?

I just tell them what to do but they don’t listen. Even though they know that what I’m asking is needed!” She responded.

I responded in a way that often most athletes take for granted when it comes to affecting their team productivity. I asked, “Have you spent time getting to know your teammates?

She rolled her eyes and walked away. The team never did click.

The most powerful force for human development/leadership is connectedness. It isn’t sharing a goal or desired end; it isn’t empowering a person’s perseverance with motivational things or incentives. All of these work but the most powerful one is to connect with people.

Getting connected with others is always the gateway to being a great leader. Here are a couple of things to take into consideration.

1) If you want to be an influential captain in your sport, take the time to know who you are playing with. Find out what they value. I don’t mean that you find out by asking them questions, although that should be done. I really mean find out what they value by seeing it first hand – go do some things together.

When people know that you cared enough to get to know them they will listen a little easier to what you say to them in your sport.

2) Find out what their dreams are. What do they want to become later on in life? If you can, try your hardest to help them take steps to making that a reality later on. Why should you know this? Because if you are the captain, you can use their dreams to increase their motivation to work harder in practice and games.

3) Be genuine and give sincere compliments when they take steps that align with what they value or what they would like to become in life.

What you’ll find about this short list is that you, right now, are connected or don’t mind helping/following a person who does these three for you. Right??

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