Super Bowl quarterback Cam Newton is taking a lot of heat these days for the way he “pouted” after his team’s loss in the big game. Pundits are asserting that, as the “face of the team and league, he should be a more magnanimous loser”. Having never lost at something as monumental as a Super Bowl, especially at as young of age as Mr. Newton, I find it hard to judge his response. But there is another aspect of Mr. Newton’s alleged pouting, that, if I were his performance coach, I would be very concerned…pouting negatively effects future performance.
My daughter and son-in-law, Katy and Trent, are owner’s of Trent Reynold’s Player Development™ (TRPD™), a baseball player development business in Austin, Texas. This principle—that pouting negatively effects future performance—is a key concept they teach to their coaches and players.
When a player, whether in business or sports, feels that he’s failed or let down her teammates, it is human nature to pout and sulk. But this is not the case with TRPD‘s players. When a player strikes out in a pivotal moment, or makes a critical error, they quickly debrief the experience, learn what there is to learn from it, and move onto the next performance. Why? Because they have been taught that who one is being and how one is behaving after a failed performance has a profound effect on their next.
On TRPD‘s teams, when a player strikes out and begins to pout, a coach or more mature player intercedes and asks the sulking player this question, “How would you be feeling and acting right now if you knew at your next at bat you were going to hit a home run?”
Of course the player replies, “I would be happy and eager to get back in the game.”
Then the coach asks a second question, “Are you more likely to hit the ball at your next at bat if you are happy and eager or sad and pouting?”
And of course the player responds grudgingly, “happy and eager.”
To which the coach replies, “And that’s why we don’t pout at TRPD”, then lifts the player up to his feet and says, “Get up against the fence, root for your teammates, and dream about the big hit your going to get in a few innings.”
TRPD coaches understand that it’s their role to assure that a pouting player doesn’t carry her failure into her next performance. And they realize that, just as a player’s emotional state affects his physiology (the physical symptoms of pouting are obvious to anyone), a player’s physiology affects his emotional state—thus the coach’s actions to get the player up and positioning his body as happy and eager player would.
These same principles apply in business. Every leader has followers who fail. It’s the leader’s job to assure that their followers interpret those negative experiences in ways that position them to perform their best their next time around and not repeat the failure. All-In Leaders do the same for themselves whenever they fail.
How do you affect your followers’ physiology and emotional state after they fail? What can you do to help them change their physiology and choose a different interpretation of the failure so they set their-self’s up for success the next time around? Do you actively manage your emotional and physiological states after a failure to assure you perform at your best during your next meeting or interaction?