Recently I wrote a blog of a co-workers grandson who was able to make the team in tryouts for a premier soccer league. Unfortunately as he was looking forward to his first game, her grandson was given a blow. He is suffering from stress fractures in his back, requiring him to take it easy for the next 3 months…translation? No soccer. No time in the game. No team.
A blow for anyone, this was particularly crushing to this young man. He was poised to make his mark as a key member of the newly formed team. Now what would he have to offer? As we talked about his situation, we began to see this not as a detrimental blow, but an opportunity in the making.
Peter Drucker of HBR said, “Every enterprise is composed of people with different skills and knowledge doing many different kinds of work…Each member has to think through what he or she aims to accomplish-and make sure that associates know and understand that aim.” What this young man needed to see was that he was still a very important part of the team. His goals had not changed; he just was looking at it now from a different aiming point. He has the power to influence his team as a leader can, even without being able to touch the ball.
Three things a team member can do to help influence his/her team; See a change, position the change and help the team embrace the change and get the Team Work going.
See change: In this case it was not hard to see what had changed. With the injury, this team member’s role within the team was changed. He was no longer able to run the field but could lead from the sidelines. What can be hard for anyone is to view change not as a challenge but an opportunity.
Position the change: Team players need to position themselves to make opportunities out of changes in a player’s role on the team. Many times the opportunity to aid the team is in a greater leadership role as in this young man’s situation. This opportunity could not have been given him without a change (the injury) taking place.
Help other’s embrace the change: A blow to any team is the losing of its member to injury or other circumstance. For a team to succeed, its members need to embrace change and move forward with the same goal in mind. Once the change (however it presents itself) is embraced by others, it allows the team to become focused on the goal despite outside forces. In this young man’s case, change happened again as he was able to still play on the field later in the season as the injury healed.
In observation, not only did the injury change this young man’s outlook on his part within the team, but also his outlook on change itself. He was able not only to be led himself, but also lead others. After all, we all know. ..Change happens. All we can do is be better prepared mentally for it.