Each year for Christmas we head to the beach, swimming and surfing are some of my favourite things to do over the summer holidays. Going to the beach allows me to spend time with family and get some much-needed rest and relaxation.
The beaches are normally packed with people, and lifesavers have the unenviable task of keeping everyone safe. Not only do they need to cater for a wide range of swimming abilities, they also need to factor in the ever-changing surf conditions. The beach is kept safe by everyone swimming between the flags. Lifesavers position the flags in the safest position on the beach and they can rescue swimmers if they get into trouble.
People who choose to swim beyond the flags not only risk their safety but also the safety of others. At any given moment your behaviour either puts you between the flags or beyond the flags.
“People may hear your words but they feel your attitude.”
The same applies to teams. Some attitudes are going to promote team cohesiveness and others are going to destroy it. Attitudes are important because it’s the feeling you give off to the team. Attitudes are more important than education, qualifications or skills. Attitude is the little thing that makes the biggest difference.
Attitudes that are between the flags are those that help the team succeed. Attitudes such as Educators taking ownership and responsibility. They see solutions, take-action and support each other. Being between the flags is knowing that you can’t always control the situation but you can choose your attitude. When all Educators are between the flags, success just seems to flow.
“Bad attitudes will ruin your team.”
When working in small teams in a high-pressure environment, it is natural that some bad attitudes might creep into the team. Attitudes that are beyond the flags are denial, blame and excuses.
When Educators are beyond the flags, you hear statements such as ‘I didn’t do it’ or ‘it’s not my fault’. These attitudes derail the team and undermine success. When Educators behave beyond the flags we see them blaming, fault finding and ignoring each other.
When you have staff beyond the flags, your team can get stuck in a victim cycle and getting back on track is almost impossible. In this situation, people pretend not to know that there’s a problem, deny its existence, or remain unaware of its effects. Beyond the flag attitudes are a problem because tough issues remain unresolved. Small problems become even larger ones and instead of moving forward, people consider themselves victims and point fingers at others.
“For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.”
When your team chooses to be between the flags, they take 100% responsibility for their actions and outcomes. They see a world full of possibilities, where they have the power to choose their own attitude, to choose their own way. Educators that operate between the flags believe life is about how you perceive it. They look for the good in bad situations and turn the negatives into a learning experience. These people take ownership and responsibility for everything that happens.
Great leaders set the flags with their team. Decide what “good” looks like, support the team to clearly articulate what attitudes and behaviours do we demonstrate when we are at our best. These will be the attitudes and behaviours that are between the flags and the attitudes we are willing to accept from each other. Conversely, the team will need to identify which attitudes and behaviours are beyond the flags, attitudes that we don’t want to exist in the team.
Having the team decide the attitudes and behaviours they expect from themselves and each other is the first step in moving from a mentality of blame to an attitude of trust, confidence and positivity. It’s a great activity to do with your team this month and help bring a positive attitude this Christmas.
To find out more about how Farran Street Education can help bring a positive attitude to your team click here.