Lead by example

UK F.I.T. Ambassador Mike Tuck is a professional basketball player for the Sheffield Sharks. As club captain, Mike understands the importance of leadership and how mentality can impact his team, and although his field may be different, there is much to learn from the way he leads.

The Sheffield Sharks are an award-winning club and Mike’s team recently won the season. Such success is the product of strong leadership and we asked Mike to share his advice and thoughts on leading a team to success…

How do you motivate your team?

Set goals – I think that having a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve is important. It gives the team motivation and something to strive for. Monthly, weekly and daily reminders of specific goals can help people to focus on the micro tasks that help them to achieve the overall macro goals.

Lead by example – Setting a good example for the team, especially when you are a leader, will help to set a benchmark of expectation. In my field, players will feed off your energy and try to match it. Showing up early, staying late, being consistent, and keeping a high energy level, all factor in.

Respect – Respect is earned not given, but it is a two-way street. I believe that when you give respect you usually get it back, and this will provide a more productive environment.

What do you think makes a good leader?

Setting an example – Whether you like it or not, as a leader, your habits, the way you hold yourself and your actions will rub off on your team. As a younger player I can always remember the great leaders and captains I've had. Some of what they've said I still hear today, and sometimes I hear it come out of my own mouth! It was always the ones that were able to bring everyone together and get them to buy into the system that were successful. That’s what I try to bring to the table every time I step out on to the court.

Consider this: What kind of leader do you want to be?

If someone on your team isn't pulling their weight, how do you deal with them?

Honesty – The best teams that I've been a part of have always been extremely honest with each other; when someone is under-performing, we have, as a team, always let them know. How they react to that will depend on their mental toughness, but also on the delivery of the news.

Call a meeting – The first step when someone is under-performing is usually a quick individual meeting to address the issue. This lets the team member know that there is an issue; it holds them accountable and it helps them set personal goals to rectify it. In my field, if the issue continues, then calling them out in front of the group, or calling a team meeting, will put added pressure on that player to step up their performance. Again delivery is always key as different personalities react differently to situations; added pressure can make some players thrive while others might crumble.

Forever tip: Think carefully about how you address your team members, as your delivery of criticism may be taken by individuals in different ways. Ensure you carefully consider each individual’s character first and build solid relationships with your team to help you gauge how each person may respond to situations.

What has helped you to develop in your role as captain?

Mentors – I've been extremely lucky in my career to have many great coaches, captains and players to look up to. The best have always been those who have influenced a team, and those who are able to get players to invest 100 percent into a game.

Forever tip: Surround yourself with your upline and attend trainings that enable you to learn from the Area Development Directors and other top leaders in the business. Success Express events are also inspiring and encouraging environments where successful Forever Business Owners provide coaching and advice to attendees. Don’t miss out!

Mistakes – Almost every year I tell my team that I've probably made more mistakes in my game than anyone else on the team, but that’s how I’ve learned and I’ve bounced back from those mistakes. How I’ve dealt with those situations is what defines me as a player, as a leader, and as a man.

Time – Being a good captain or leader doesn't happen overnight! Although I think that I showed many leadership traits early on in my career, which is why they asked me to take the helm in the first place, much of how I am as a leader has been developed over the years. Learning from my mistakes, other great leaders and influencers around me, and trial and error have all been necessary to my development.

How do you handle set-backs?

I have definitely made mistakes, on and off the court! Losing and making mistakes is as much a part of the game as winning is. Losing helps you figure out your weaknesses so that you can address them, improve on them, and not repeat them. I've been on teams where we started slow or had big dips, but then we’ve peaked at the right game or at the right point in the season; this is because we were able to learn and grow from our mistakes.

Forever tip: Building a business is not easy and sometimes set-backs or slander can catch you off guard. Don’t give up by letting these hurdles stand in your way; instead fix your eyes firmly on your goals and believe that you can overcome the challenges.

What helps you to build a positive mindset?

Preparation – Being prepared helps me to build both confidence and a positive mindset. Setting out goals and consistently coming into the gym and working hard helps me to feel prepared and ready to take on what lies ahead.

Attitude – Focusing on the ‘cans’ instead of the ‘can’ts’ is extremely important. Recognising negativity and shutting it down quickly can change your outlook, and sometimes all it takes is telling yourself to smile. If I go into my daily training with a good attitude and a smile on my face, this will automatically transfer onto my game.

Visualisation – This is a big influence and one that I’ve been trying to use more of late. Picturing yourself as successful in certain situations can be crucial in helping you to achieve what you want. Every time I step to the free-throw line, I visualise the ball going through the basket before I shoot; this mental imagery can be effective and it certainly boosts my confidence!

Consider this: Have you read the ‘Power of a positive mindset’ article that features in the latest edition of Aloe Matters magazine? It’s definitely worth a read. Buy Aloe Matters today from foreverliving.com. Code 1452 | £3.50 (pack of ten).

What helps you to maintain a positive attitude after you've had a set-back?

Taking away the positives – I always try to take away the positives from the negative. A loss or mistake can be viewed as a lesson learned so I always try to view losses as an opportunity to bounce back.

Thinking of the bigger picture – Losses, mistakes and setbacks are usually temporary or very small in the grand scale of things. Take time to remind yourself of the bigger picture and what your ultimate goal actually is; consider how you will feel when you get there.

My support network – After a setback or loss it is always good to get in touch with someone from your support network. This may be a partner, parent, sibling, best friend, or simply someone you can blow off steam too. Anyone who provides you with support and a confidence boost is worth keeping close.

Who do you admire who has a great mindset?

I have been so fortunate to have many people with great mindsets cross my path, so it’s really hard to narrow it down to a concise list. Aside from all the great coaches and players that I’ve looked up to as mentors, I think the person that stands out the most in my life is my dad. My dad is an extremely hard worker; he comes from a blue-collar family where hard work and dedication to the family were drilled into him all his life. Every day he has set an amazing example for me on how to be a man, and he is one of those people that constantly puts others before him. He is constantly trying to provide and he is always trying to remain positive even in difficult situations. I would not be where I am today without him and I believe this all comes down to his mindset.

Consider this: What kind of mindset do you want your children to remember you having?

What advice would you give to someone who needs to work on their mindset?

Analyse your situation – Step back and try to look at what’s holding you back or what’s affecting your mindset. Recognising a recent setback or opening up to confidence issues may be the first step to moving towards a positive, strong mindset. Usually if we are able to find the root of the problem and address it, it will make the process easier.

Be willing to take a risk – Too often we end up making the safe or easy choice out of fear or comfort, when really what we want to achieve is right there. Taking a chance and putting yourself out there can help you to reach these goals. Once you’ve made the commitment to approach things with a positive mindset, take that first leap and you’ll see a snowball effect.

You’re only as good as the company you keep – You are, or eventually will become, the people that you surround yourself with. This is an age-old quote that speaks volumes, and a perfect example of this would be when I was at a former club. I can remember being on a team in pre-season training where the coach made us run around a track for conditioning. While running with the group quite a few of the guys would start moaning and complaining about the distance and laps. It would have been very easy to join in, but instead their complaining motivated me to run faster so that I could get away from the negative energy. The guys that came with me ended up being successful within the team, while the others ended up spending most of their time on the bench!

How can Forever Business Owners learn from a sports team?

There’s no ‘I’ in team – There are so many parallels to be drawn between sport and business, but I believe that in any successful business or sports team, the correct mindset or ethos has to come from the top down. When you create a culture where success, hard work, and a positive mindset are present you are bound for good things. The best coaches (or managers) are always the ones that can recruit and bring a harmonious team together. The best teams are always the ones that have players (team members) that are willing to work together towards their goals. Mindset plays a huge role here and it is important on every level.

Forever tip: The beauty of being an independent business owner is that you get to choose who you work with. Carefully consider how you are going to treat your team members, educate them in the business and products properly, encourage them frequently, and ensure that they too understand the importance of building, developing and working as a team.