I want to help my team do well, but some of my teammates don’t seem to care as much as I do. What can I do about unmotivated teammates?
You will work with people with differing levels of commitment throughout your life. It is actually rare to be part of a unified group of people who are all equally committed to the same goal. Here are some thoughts on dealing with this situation.
Reframe. Reframe this as an opportunity to work on your leadership skills and help your teammates improve. Take this season as a personal challenge to work on being the kind of person who makes every team you are on better. And stay positive and keep working hard — you’ll stand out if you do, especially if others on the team do not.
Empathize to understand. Empathy is putting yourself in another’s situation so you can understand how that person sees things. Understand that your teammates may have a lot going on in their lives, such as family issues, conflicts with friends, money or health problems, or stress around schoolwork. Empathizing with teammates will increase your ability to influence them. Being angry because of their lack of commitment will make it harder for them to respond favorably to your leadership.
Share your emotional commitment. Your emotional commitment to your team can draw the commitment of your teammates. Lead by example with your effort and enthusiasm, as well as your words.
Reward what you want to see. People do what gets rewarded. And being noticed is rewarding. So comment favorably whenever you see someone trying. Most people get so little reinforcement for doing something well that some E-Tank-filling comments from you can go a long way. You can be a enthusiastic cheerleader or it can be a simple, “Hey, way to push hard!”
Recognize your limits. Ultimately you can’t control anyone’s behavior. By staying positive and developing the habits of working hard and filling E-Tanks, you are building a foundation for success in life regardless of how this season turns out.
Editor’s Note: This case study is an excerpt from the Positive Coaching Alliance’s (PCA) book called ‘Elevating Your Game’ by Jim Thompson. It has been re-printed here in promotion of Minnesota Hockey’s partnership with PCA which enables youth hockey associations to receive grants for hosting a PCA workshop. For more details on this grant program, click here or contact PCA Minnesota directly.