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The One Thing the Best Teams Have in Common (#181)


The Confident Leader


I love watching the NFL playoffs. This new era of quarterbacks are putting on quite the show. Each week, the winning teams seem to possess something the losing team doesn’t – chemistry. As a leader, how do you know if your team has chemistry?

“You Win in the Locker Room First.”

Jon Gordon (American author)

This Week’s Edition

Does your team have chemistry?

Clarify Your Thinking

In the most recent NFL playoff games, I’ve observed that the team with the best chemistry wins. They play as if they can read each other’s mind. They edge out the other elite team.

So, what is chemistry? And how do you get it?

The key element to chemistry is trust. Does the team trust one another enough to lean into the risky proposition of building a vulnerable relationship? Am I willing to put my fate in the hands of another and vice versa?

To achieve team chemistry, team members must

  • Rely fully on one another, 
  • Feel confident in each other’s abilities, and 
  • Believe that everyone is working toward the collective success of the team (not advancing their own agenda).

Old Thinking: I’m not sure that person has my best interests at heart. They seem to be focused on advancing themself. I’ll be on the “team,” but I won’t fully trust them. It’s too risky.

New Thinking: I won’t garner the trust I want unless I trust them first. As the leader, I will go first. I will seek to be vulnerable – worthy of the trust of my team members.

Thoughts Lead to Actions

A speaker once shared his thoughts on the best team he had ever been a part of:

“When someone disagreed with me, I asked myself, ‘what am I missing?’”

Wait! What? When someone disagreed with him, he asked himself, “what am I missing?” 

That may be the truest definition of trust I’ve ever come across. That means the relationship has to be built on:

  • A mutual respect of one another 
  • A humility that recognizes you may not see every aspect a situation
  • A shared understanding that the intention is to get the best answer 

The speaker shared that, with this level of team trust, he found himself able to easily resist his typical responses: 

  • Blaming the other person for having a crazy point of view
  • Complaining that they didn’t understand him 
  • Defending his position by digging in his heels 

He simply resorted to asking himself, “what am I missing?”  This question fueled his curiosity: 

“My colleague is smart. He might have a good point. It’s possible I don’t understand everything fully. How can I get more info to make sense of what he’s saying?” 

Try this approach and you may find yourself staying in the “game” long enough to ask the next questions

  1. Why do you think that?
  2. Walk me through your logic?
  3. Tell me more. 

Keep the communication going. Resist the need to be right. Focus on finding the best idea. Recognize that others have important contributions.

Boost Your Performance

My son’s junior varsity football coach’s mantra is: “No BCD.” No Blaming, Complaining or Defending. It’s brilliantly simple, and it works. He knows that those three responses block our ability to improve. Boost your leadership this week by adopting the same mantra for yourself: No BCD!

What’s Your Opinion?

What’s holding you back from truly trusting your team and achieving team chemistry? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.