This month has seen the Women’s Euro football tournament play out on prime time tv. It’s been a delight to finally see women’s football profiled as it should be.
As the competition unfolded game after game, it became apparent that England’s team were going to progress far in the tournament. The night before and the morning after games was tinged with a rising excitement and chatter about just how far they could go. This felt very different to recent years where England have qualified for the Euros eight times and the finals twice, although yet to win the tournament.
So, what has been different about this tournament so far? With the final against Germany coming up on Sunday 31st July, there is a way to go before we know if there will be a different outcome this time around. Yet, this time the conditions are different to before.
There is a virtuous circle going on with high profile exposure to TV; media attention is at an all-time high and social channels are full of commentary and excitement about what is playing out. This exposure and positivity is having a knock on effect on the confidence of the players and their feeling of self-worth.
They are now paid the same as their male counterparts per game, albeit not with the same level of sponsorship and earning potential beyond the tournament itself. As well as all of this positive reinforcement, there is a manager who is really making a difference. She took the role last year and the team’s performance has rocketed forward. The value of a leader who understands what it takes for people to give their best, and building confidence along with a belief that winning is possible, is another key part of the winning virtuous circle.
Take all of these elements and overlay this on highly talented people with their skills honed to perfection and anything is possible. It’s wonderful to see the self confidence that comes from this unshakeable belief in being ready, valued and focused. This shows up in their body language when they walk out onto the pitch and the steadfast gaze in their eyes, they are really in the zone. The manager is there, ready to nudge them forward when they need it, reinforcing the positivity and building on the self-belief of each of the players in themselves and in each other.
Sunday evening will reveal the outcome of the final game. They are playing a prestigious and experienced team in Germany, but whatever the outcome, this is a team that knows it can and will succeed beyond the final of the Euros.
I see all of this play out in the workplace. People who have self-belief that they are skilled and ready to succeed invariably will do just that. It needs the virtuous circle to be sustainable with the right culture recognising and rewarding great talent, with the leader playing a key role in coaching the team members and building on the self-belief to power through to success.
A favourite analogy of mine that you will have heard me refer to previously is the success of the cartoon character the roadrunner. I love this character. The roadrunner has this unshakeable belief that the road will build out in front of them, their only job is to keep on going and all will be well. They have a strong sense of self-belief. Invariably the road does build out. The only time this doesn’t succeed is when they look down, that is when they fall. A moment of self-doubt interrupts the successful path taken. The thing I love about the roadrunner is that they shake themselves down, lift their head up and go again. I always tell myself to channel my inner roadrunner!
There is so much we can learn from the world of sport in the workplace, and in life. I wish both great teams success in the Euro finals this Sunday. On the day, the winner will come from being just that little bit better prepared and focused.
As the weekend comes around, please take time to rest and recuperate. Keep safe and well.