31 Aug 2017


Most leaders will spend a significant amount of time focusing on strategic decisions and tactics to help them achieve success, and with good reason. Then comes planning for action.

Words: Roberto Forzoni

In order to do that, planning will include practices to help the team carry out actions in a certain way, maximizing their strengths and working on areas that need improvement. Therefore, training sessions are put together to help achieve these aims and objectives.

At the same time, input is now sought from support staff on intensity levels, periodisation and work-rest ratios. It’s a wonder that with everything else a manager has to do, they have time to maximize every area that needs attention.

One consideration that may get lost in the ball juggling that can be organisational management is how, by regularly using some simple psychological tactics, you might gain significant return in terms of motivation, confidence-building, engagement, enhanced learning and ultimately improved results.

Stephen Lundin wrote a best-selling book called Fish! It looks at four components that will help enhance a workplace, add a spark to the working environment and improve performance; these principles can be used for any team or organisation and are well worth the small time investment or consideration. From the multitude of leadership books on the market this one has really stood the test of time.

The four guiding principles are:

Be there - how do you engage physically and mentally with colleagues and team members so you can seize opportunities and maximise performance? Being really ‘engaged’ and ‘fully present’ with one of your staff or team members will help enhance trust and respect. The benefits are positively disproportionate to ‘considered’ time invested here.

Make their day – how do you genuinely connect with colleagues and team members alike to help create an engaging work environment and better experience for your team members? Simple but consistent personal engagement, even in the form of a quick word walking out to lunch or after a meeting, can bring more benefits than you might imagine. Ensuring sessions and meetings are well planned, challenging and progressive are also valuable components of ‘making their day’.

Have fun - while work is not designed to be fun, embracing a playful state of mind at appropriate times makes you more energetic, enthusiastic and creative. How often do you see Messi smile? Work made fun gets done.

Choose your attitude - leaders often try to improve and change attitudes among team members and colleagues. How often do you check your own attitude? During my time working with LMA member Steve Coppell, he would often say to players: “Attitude is contagious…is yours worth catching?”- a delightful phrase and one worth keeping at the forefront of your role.

Bill Beswick often said: “Attitude precedes performance” - another little gem. If you find yourself with an attitude that is not what you want it to be, choose a new one. If, at the end of every staff preparation meeting or planning session, or every morning before engaging with staff and team members, you spend a few moments self-checking these four aspects you will be pleasantly surprised at the return you gain.