Teammates: Everyone Wins
By Mark Eaton
Trust is essential
in today’s business world. Every day people talk about how important
trust is, yet few know how to create it. Trust comes when people
know they can count on you. Trust comes when people know you’re
there for them. When people protect each other, there is trust –
it’s that simple. When you’re committed to others and their
well-being, you can expect an extraordinary commitment in return
In the NBA, basketball players follow the concept of
“sticking together.” They know by protecting each other, working
collaboratively and standing united against the competition, their
chances of winning greatly increase.
In business, the only way you can do your job effectively, be
creative and be innovative is when you know that someone has your
back. When you’re confident someone is watching out for you, you’re
more willing to take risks to increase the bottom line.
Unfortunately, in most companies, people are just there to collect a
paycheck. There’s no creativity, no innovation and no risk-taking,
all because there’s no sense of trust among team members. After all,
if you know no one is backing your ideas, why try to implement them?
The chance of failing is too great.
The world of professional basketball offers the perfect
learning example: In basketball, one person’s job is to guard the
basket. As long as that person is doing his job, his teammates up
the court can take risks and try to steal the ball from the other
team. If they’re unsuccessful with the steal and the competition
happens to get by them, they can count on the person guarding the
basket to protect the team and keep the rival from scoring.
If the team members can’t count on each other, they’re not
going to take risks. They’re going to play it safe. They’ll stay in
front of their man, do their best to not let him score, and stay in
a defensive mode rather than taking an offensive position and going
for the score.
The same is true in business. People may have some good
ideas, but they don’t voice them because they don’t feel protected.
They don’t feel that sense of trust or appreciation, so they stay
under the radar and do just enough to not get fired. They become
clock-watchers who only care about themselves and their own agenda.
As a result, you have a company filled with people who know only how
to complain and whine rather than take action and responsibility.
Now you no longer have a team; you only have divisiveness.
If you want people in your company to not only think of new
ideas but also execute them, then they need to feel supported.
Protecting your teammates is a key ingredient in the NBA, because if
you don’t have that trust, then things quickly fall apart. For
businesses to succeed, they need the same mentality. If you want
your company to grow, to change, to innovate, to succeed, and to
rise to the top of your industry, then you can’t afford to have a
bunch of people playing it safe. You need the creativity and
entrepreneurial spirit that comes when trust abounds. So if you’re
ready for your company to go from a “playing it safe” rookie to an
innovative all-star champion, then consider the following
1. If you’re an
employee, encourage fellow employees to step out and take risks:
would it be like if everyone on your team truly felt safe? If you
want to be invaluable, be the person people can count on. If you
want to have enduring relationships, look out for others. Put others
first. When you protect others, they take risks. They know they
won’t be criticized should they fail. When you protect others, you
create an environment of safety and freedom. That’s what supports
innovation and the immediate response required in a world and market
characterized by incessant change. When you protect others you
sometimes give up an opportunity or put yourself on the line. But
when you do that, you show people you care. Therefore, let people
know that they have your trust and support, even if that’s not the
prevalent culture. Remember that change has to start somewhere.
2. If you’re in
management or a supervisory position, become a protector:
people to come to you with ideas. When you decide to implement one
of the ideas, let your employees know you completely support them.
Win or lose, you’re there for them. If you must, think of your
employees as your children. As a parent, your first priority is
protecting your young. Just like children, adults do their best when
they feel cared for and safe. So if you want peak performers, create
an environment where everyone feels safe. The ideal manager is like
the coach who stands up for his team. The ideal manager who creates
an atmosphere of trust is really creating a space where people will
3. Observe how
behavior changes in the workplace with the implementation of this
One glimpse of
trust starts a wellspring of performance and confidence. Think about
it … if your supervisor said to you, “That’s a great idea. Take this
project on. You have my complete support,” how would you feel? You’d
probably feel a sense of shock, and then a sense of eager
anticipation. You’d be excited and quick to tell others on your team
what just happened. Then your co-workers would think, “Wow. I have
an idea, too. I want to talk to the boss about it.” So one simple
gesture of trust can create a sense of energy and enthusiasm in the
workplace, which is really what everyone wants. The more management
communicates with their staff that they’re creating an environment
of trust, the more ideas and innovation that people will bring to
The Keys to
Performance and Success:
Trust and loyalty are what distinguishes a team from a group. They’re
what make relationships irreplaceable and irresistible, and people
invaluable. When you fight for another person and transcend your
self-interest, you change the world.
Trust comes when
people know they can count on you…that you’re there for them no
matter what. When people protect each other, trust is inevitable.
It’s that simple. When you commit to protecting others, you can
expect an extraordinary commitment in return.
Trust sets people
on fire. When you defend another, you find courage that you didn’t
know you had. Fighting for someone else and doing more for others
than you do for yourself brings out the best in yourself. And that’s
where you find the win. It’s called the magic of teamwork.
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