Leadership Lessons from Nine Year Old Soccer Players

I was refereeing a youth soccer game yesterday and overheard an interesting conversation at halftime. Members of one of the teams, a group of 9 year old girls, were complaining to the coach about the parents on the sideline. These young girls were telling the coach that they couldn’t play well because the parents were yelling at them. Here’s the amazing part….it was their own parents! The parents of these girls were yelling at them to play harder, to do better, and to win the game. The excitement of these parents was putting so much pressure on the girls that they couldn’t perform well.  (Unfortunately we see parents taking the fun out of youth sports all too often….but that’s a different post.)

This episode got me thinking about the times that we, as leaders, put so much pressure on our teams that it becomes difficult for them to perform effectively. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves: are we creating a safe environment where team members can perform to their fullest potential or is our environment threatening and pressure-packed? If it is the latter, we may be interfering with our team’s ability to get results.

So when the intensity picks up and the pressure is on for you to get the job done, try not to convey this pressure to your team. Remember the story of these 9 year old girls and work hard to create a safe environment that allows your team to thrive.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. – Feel free to share my blog with others who love leadership and positivity!




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