As I watch my NCAA men’s basketball brackets fall apart as the tournament winds down (or winds up depending on your team’s good fortune), I have noticed an interesting body language phenomenon. I watch the guys on the bench. In these super competitive games, the players on the huddle together, with arms locked in solidarity as their teammates battle it out on the court. It is such a powerful demonstration of unity and fraternity. It says, ‘We are here, cheering you on. We believe in you.’


Conversely, I’ve observed that as one team pulls ahead and takes the lead, the trailing team’s bench accord seems to wane as the point spread broadens. Their arms unlock and their heads fall into their hands signaling imminent defeat. In those moments I think, “Geez, if they don’t believe anymore, should I?”

How does your team face challenges? When times get tough, does your team strengthen their grip on one another or back away? Does your “bench” continue to cheer on the front line even when challenges and obstacles are present?

When your organization or team are going through tough times it is essential to remain “locked” in solidarity. Consider these guiding principles:

1. Cheer on. Even when you may be on the brink of losing the client or the sale – if you know the team has given it their all – continue to be supportive and rally to the end.
2. Keep your attention on the team. Attention is intentional. If you intend to bolster your team’s confidence, stay focused on what they need and let them know you care enough to give them your full attention.
3. Don’t express doom and gloom – Avoid body language or facial expressions that signal distress, defeat or dissatisfaction in the midst of the battle for the business. When challenges persist and stress is high, one negative look can derail whatever confidence may be left.

And when the buzzer rings or the prospect says no and the fat lady has finally sung – hold your head high, shake each other’s hand and say, “Well done. We gave it our all. We’ll get ‘em next time.”

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