Pillar #4: Empowering your team

“Impressive teams are made up of
impressive individuals.”

Welcome to the fourth and final post of this four-part series. In this post, I am going to talk about empowering your team and how to better leverage the strengths of our teammates. We’ll discuss what it means to have a growth mindset and how it influences our team’s ability to achieve limitless possibilities in sport, in business, and in life.

Teamwork is the last pillar of an athlete mindset for good reason, the best athletes rely on teamwork to achieve success. The old adage, “You’ll go fast on your own, but you’ll go far with your team” couldn’t be more true.

What is a “team” and why is teamwork important?

A team is a stable, bound group of individuals interdependent in achieving a shared goal. The best sports teams win because they practice with the same members over time. The chemistry between teammates has far more significance for team success than skill or strategy alone.

Great leaders in business and in life, like great athletes, recognize the importance of their team and their followers. So often, great leaders are only great because of the people they inspire.

So, how do you empower your team?

Impressive organizations are made up of impressive individuals. Empowering team players, relying on trust, and granting each person the autonomy to take risks will help them become impressive. The trick is to do this while staying focused on progress over performance. By empowering individuals with autonomy and responsibility, your team will stay true to you and your shared vision. Here are a few actionable items to help you empower your team.

  1. Trust and Vision. Great teams with great chemistry all have a foundation of trust. It’s paramount. Building mutual trust into inter-team relationships is much easier when you clarify your team’s vision and unanimously commit to achieving your objectives. Creating a shared vision is a collaborative process. Involve team players when determining the team vision so that they take ownership over their role and can trust one another to work tirelessly towards it.
  2. Give praise where it’s due. Gratitude is an excellent motivator and a critical tool for overcoming adversity. Embody gratitude in your day-to-day life and don’t hold back on saying thank you for deserving effort.
  3. Embrace failure as a form of success. It means your team is pushing the needle towards a better tomorrow. Lean into your edge and encourage your team to do the same.
  4. Focus on possibilities vs. impossibilities. Know that you are all capable of more than you think you are and you can all do more than you think you can do. Shift this group mindset, because when you do, you are all capable of incredible things. Your possibilities are limitless when your whole team is willing to push their personal limits.
  5. Avoid being so performance-focused that you miss out on team members’ progress. Performance metrics are a double-edged sword. While it’s important to measure your success (fear of failure is a powerful tool), failing to meet expectations can be paralyzing. Acknowledging that a step backward is still a step forward, especially if you never stop working towards your goals, is imperative. It’s part of the progress process.
  6. Great leaders lead by example. If you work hard and you are kind, amazing things will happen. Remember that it is our universal right to choose our attitude and effort every day. Choose gratitude and choose to give your full effort. Your team members will take notice and follow your lead.

Activating an athlete mindset is something we can all do. As leaders, we need to exemplify the behavior we expect to see in our teams. It takes a bit of effort, but stay true to the notion that you and the individuals on your team all have it within yourselves to push through and achieve great things.

This post marks the end of the four-part series, We Are All Athletes, Activate YOUR Athlete Mindset. But the learning doesn’t stop here. We now have the opportunity to activate the tools that athletes use to achieve success so that we can all achieve our goals.

I hope that these ideas help you to overcome the challenges in your way on your path to success. Thank you for reading and please reach out with any thoughts questions or ideas.

With gratitude,

Mike Shaw








Open your mind to your possibilities vs. your impossibilities.

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