Leadership lessons and inspiration can be gained from everyday experiences, whether we are participating or observing. While not automatic, we can choose to look through the lens of inspiration, and that lens can move us to change and grow, or sometimes just keep going. Most recently, I was inspired by the run for the Stanley Cup by Nashville’s local NHL team, the Predators. Here are a few things that I took from the experience:
- Having grace under fire is a way of being, and in spite of all of the challenges they faced, our team and coaches took the high road. Their focus was moving forward and playing one game at a time. As leaders, learning from the past, but realizing that we can’t change it, gives us the energy to adapt, apply and keep moving toward our goals. In addition, focusing forward prevents us from being distracted by unproductive rabbit holes.
- Pulling together as a team takes work and belief in each other, as well as commitment to each other’s success. 17 Predators scored, both offensive and defensive players. Excellent teamwork enabled these young men to succeed without heavy reliance on the work of just a few. While the team has some outstanding performers, they couldn’t have truly been their best without the commitment of their other team members to “get it done.”
- Hard work pays off, and sometimes you have to gut your way through, pushing for just one more effort, to see a project or plan to completion. Our team played with unfailing commitment, even in the face of some failures and tough performances. The Predators showed us the importance of believing in your purpose, even when the situation feels challenging.
- Never underestimate the value of having fun and believing in the possibilities, regardless of the odds stacked against you. While disappointed that they didn’t bring the Cup to Nashville, each player expressed their excitement in returning in a few months to start the new season and build on what they learned this year.
- The halo effect of their positivity and character truly inspired the community to respond with a combination of our Southern culture and hospitality, blending the traditions of the game of hockey. As a leader, it’s a great outcome to elevate an entire team by creating values and behaviors that transcend the “game” of work. We love our players, and appreciate their commitment to the community and the fans, and they, in turn, rallied for us. You can’t ask for more than that in a win-win environment.
Certainly bringing the Cup home would have been an amazing end to this story, and yet we celebrate the Predators' demonstration of commitment, focus and integrity, as well as the great sense of fun that they brought to each game. Their best inspired the rest of community to be committed and bring our best. It wasn’t perfect, indeed, yet spectacularly successful none-the-less. It was a nearly ideal leadership experience, and was certainly inspiring enough to consider what worked well that could be applied in other work environments. How can you bring these lessons to your team?