Written by Diego Fernández

"Teamwork starts with building trust. The only way to do this is to overcome our need for invulnerability" (Patrick Lencioni).

I tear this entry with a phrase from Lencioni, an American writer specializing in leadership and teamwork, to place a relevant context in managing the fears and expectations of those responsible for leading a group.

It is relatively easy to talk, reflect and discuss what our expectations, objectives and hopes are in group management, based on the basics of the activity, and on our own personal and professional values.

What could be some of our expectations in team leadership at the sporting level? 

  • Improve the player technically and tactically.
  • Encourage motivation and cohesion within the team (players, coaching staff).
  • Encourage a style of play in which everyone feels important.
  • Achieve my personal goals within management (commitment, effort, punctuality, discipline, etc.).
  • Release the existing talent in the player, help its development and enhance it.
  • Create, innovate and encourage creativity.
  • Facilitate and promote a friendly environment in which all the actors involved add together in favor of the collective.
  • Constantly grow in competitive capacity.
  • Win matches and competitions.

But it is more difficult to talk openly and freely about what our fears are when it comes to seeking success in this difficult task. We fear failure, and we are afraid to verbalize it, to naturally show our doubts, weaknesses and insecurities, believing that if we keep them, they will cease to exist. But they'll still be there.

Later, when you decide to share them with others, you soon discover that most of those fears are common and widespread. 

What can be our main fears?

  • I'm constantly wrong about making decisions.
  • May that which without you was right, become wrong, or that that which was wrong, continue to worsen.
  • Not feeling respected for my team.
  • Not feeling valued by the environment.
  • Losing control of the group and the situation.
  • May the conflict (always existing in a group) overcome me.
  • Be unfair.

In a recent experience in the coaching course, during the subject "team management", I presented attendees with a group dynamic in which they had to comment on their expectations and fears. The degree of coincidence was especially high in fears. Inability to teach, motivate, or feel respected were common answers in all the working groups that were created.

Can putting "face" on fears help? To see that we share our insecurities, to be able to talk about them, and to seek mechanisms to deal with them is certainly an aid to take steps forward, and that our inner fears do not hold us back from what is essential.

"Big teams don't contain the property. They're not afraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses and their concerns, without fear of reprisals" (Patrick Lencioni).

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