It’s no secret that Donald Trump’s reference to “locker room talk” during last year’s presidential campaign ignited a great deal of debate and social media frenzy. Not everyone agreed with the rationale that such talk was lewd or “typical”. Many athletes from an array of sports took offense; objecting to the negative characterization of their work and meeting space. Winning Locker Room Culture is a new strategy.
To the contrary, many in sports see the locker room as essential to building team chemistry, motivation and morale. No athlete relishes the thought of returning to a locker room that is devoid of camaraderie and a lack of leadership, especially when his or her team is doing its best to overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles to recover from a losing streak or a devastating loss.
Consider the recent success of the Golden State Warriors. Several weeks ago, the team won their fifth NBA Championship. Sports journalists lauded their success as television cameras captured the celebration in the locker room. Bouncing back from a massively disappointing end to their season the year prior, the Warriors carved their way into the NBA history books by reversing their fortunes. Approximately $200,000 of champagne was either sprayed or consumed by their elated team members, described as perhaps “the most expensive locker room celebration in sports history” Winning Locker Room Culture.
The Warriors never stopped believing. The collective team effort, grit and winning locker room culture contributed to the pivotal win. Their coach, Steve Kerr, who returned to the bench during the finals after enduring severe complications from back surgery several years prior, spoke about the importance of controlling the “narrative and conversation in the locker room”
A toxic sports team locker room is like a toxic workplace culture; negative energy builds on itself, morale continues to sink and the ability to regain momentum feels like an impossible goal. In short: everyone wants “out”. Winning Locker Room Culture – Similarly, organizations that find themselves in the throes of dysfunction and despair can create a cultural shift by adhering to the following:
The influence of an affirming, confident leader is a pre-requisite for team success. An astute leader is able to bring out the best in his or her team during times of flux and/or high-pressure situations. Successful players from every major sports league value a coach who demonstrates trust, as well as an unequivocal faith in their ability to excel under the most challenging circumstances. Great leaders within any enterprise operate in a similar fashion. They can lead from the sidelines and watch their team “play”, without setting foot on the field.
Ensuring respect of one’s peers
It is natural for teams to comprise of conflicting personalities, divergent backgrounds and different communication styles. Tolerance, respect and open-mindedness manifest in the credo or values statement of many organizations as core principles. Paying lip service to these values will invariably backfire as today’s workforce expect to be part of a collaborative, respectful workplace culture. Similarly, a locker room culture that reflects, celebrates and appreciates divergent points of view is often a sought – after place to be.
Adapting a “winning” mindset
Reference to a “winning mindset” is not to be confused with the concept of “winning at all cost”, or a win/lose paradigm. Rather, it is the conscious practice of projecting a positive outcome and strengthening one’s mental outlook regardless of adversarial circumstances. Self-actualization is the tenet of many accomplished athletes. They possess the ability to hone resilience, project achievement, to visualize… and ultimately realize their maximum potential. Imagine the possibilities of practicing self-actualization with your team, your business…yourself.
When reflecting on the culture of his locker room and career, one retired NFL player summed it up this way: “An experience, a slice of time from my life that I didn’t realize was gone, until one day it wasn’t there anymore, and it is only by looking back on that experience that I can appreciate how much it shaped my life at that time… Fortune and fame were nice, to be sure, but it’s the people that made the game worthwhile, in all their varied personalities. It’s the people – good, bad and strange – that make anything worthwhile, and I will be forever grateful to have met the people I did. Without them, my life would have been a less interesting place. “