I don’t know much about what transforms regular teams into high performing teams – you would have to ask my mates Jamie Peacock, Lee Mears, or Ollie Phillips, about that. But I do know a thing or two about emotional intelligence and I have witnessed that in spades over the course of the past few weeks.
There has been, and quite rightly, a huge amount of national fervour surrounding the Lionesses victory in the Euros. The victory was outstanding, but for me, the manner of the victory and the way the team conducted itself is cause for equal celebration.
There were no histrionics on the field, no rolling around clutching knees or ankles at the slightest contact, no snipers shooting invisible bullets. Off the field there was humility, and a quiet, focussed determination to win. In victory there was no arrogance, just pure unadulterated joy. And it would appear, a lot of beer. Just as it should be.
On Sunday I was lucky to be invited by Peter Walshe to join him and some other guests at the St. Helen’s game vs Castleford. Great day, great game and great company. Due to the unusual KO time, the team and their families had an opportunity to enjoy a few drinks and some food at a local pub after.
Given that they have just bashed, and been bashed, around for 80 minutes and had the novel opportunity to kick back their teammates, you would have forgiven them for being in a bubble. Quite the opposite – seeing a Great Britain international chasing his three year old while pushing a baby laden buggy was truly heart warming. And he still had time to have a chat – just about!
To a man, they had time for their supporters and their greatest advocates, their families.
Like I say, I was never in a truly high performing team, and you could probably gauge my playing days as at best, average. Indeed, some would say my working career has followed the same trajectory.
But I do know that getting up every morning and needing to relentlessly push hard to succeed again or recover from failure can be tough, especially on your own. You need your mates to work as hard as you do, to help pick you up after defeats and celebrate the victories. As the skipper you need to set the right tone – never shirk, drive excellence, but be humble. There should be no I in team, but from what I’ve seen there is a lot of EQ in some.
PW – August 2022