The Fit Student – Win a Sportsmanship Award

Do you gulp air when you read the text, “Team players need only apply”? Do you shove aside your applications, forward thrust toward the freezer, and slam-dunk coconut ice cakes?just to prove You’re in the game? More importantly, do you consider yourself a team player?

I didn’t see myself as a team player. I thought team players thrived on underperforming in university group work. I thought team players gained high-fives through gossip. I thought team players ganged up on the group misfit?namely, me. But, none of those things define team players. In truth, I have the makings of an elite team player?and so do you.

When my boyfriend played hockey as a boy, he won the sportsmanship award. Winning the sportsmanship award came naturally to him. Not for me. I won a citizenship award, but never showed up at the ceremony to accept it. In other words, I needed to learn a lesson?on the traits of team players.

Yet, later in life, I touched on the team player mindset. At my month-long work stint at the college, I took the time to help colleagues. I taught skills freely. I shared my secret resources. I praised the team members in front of the boss. I smiled a lot, flattered everyone, and fetched coffees.

When the college cut my contract, I worried about whether I gave too much. I beat myself up for overhelping and underperforming. Yet, within the next three months, the whole team either got let go or left.

Can you ever give too much to your team? Not according to experts on sports psychology. The more effort, inclusion, and encouragement you give, the more you and your team excel. And no-one should be singled out for abuse. Not the timid soul with the tendency to internalize. Not the stunning star athlete who stirs jealousy. Not the girl in pink with all the literary talent. Only dysfunctional teams single out people to punish.

Instead, effective team players boast the following traits, according to Dr. Terry Orlick in his book In Pursuit of Excellence: How to Win in Sports and Life through Mental Training:

– When team tension persists, the team members’ spirits often break. Tension and conflict can break family spirits, too.
– Beware your comments and actions. They can break a team’s spirit.
– Focus on only the positive with team and family members. Challenge them playfully to reach their best.
– Say and do things that help your team and family members feel valued and respected. Support them. Help them. Look for their positives.
– Have a mission statement for your team or family. Put this mission above any conflict.
– Never put down team or family members. Choose to get along with one another. Give encouragement to one another. Make sure no-one’s left out.
– Concentrate on solutions?not the issues.
– Improve yourself with any lessons learned.
– Whatever makes you perform at your peak—do that often.
– When things get tough, zero in on the positives. Focus on the next step, however small. Celebrate that little step.
– Place your nose in any nonfiction book or instructional video you can find.
– Help your team to discover ways to win. Feel a deep reverence for one another’s strengths and contributions.
– Share your insights. don’t hoard them. Give freely.
– Say hello to one another daily. Offer kind words. Give positive feedback.

So, while knowing your creams can ice a crumble cake, knowing your teams can plunk you on top of our crumbling corporate Canada. And if Canada’s economic-growth-rate recovers, you’ll slam-dunk more than coconut ice cakes.

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