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What to do when your team loses

by Celine on November 25th, 2007

Face it - at least once in your life, you’ll lose.  The Pros team lost last week’s b5 media Apprentice Challenge. While this contest is done in the spirit of fun, real life losses are much harder to cope with, whether it’s a loss of an important client, an unapproved project, or a boss’ disappointment with your efforts.

What’s worse than losing by yourself, is to lose with a team.  Especially if you’re the team captain.  Instead of sulking in a corner, there are more mature ways to deal with losing:

Keep your spirits up.  The second that you hear a negative remark from the little voice in your head, put it out of your mind.  In fact, don’t entertain negative thoughts at all. Letting these thoughts in will bring down your morale, as well as the team’s.

Find out what you could’ve done better.  With each loss is a lesson. Find out what gave the other team an edge over you.  Losing doesn’t necessarily mean that you did a bad job, but that you could’ve done some things better.  Figure out those things and apply them to your next project.

Show appreciation for everyone’s efforts.  Regardless of the end result, your team probably worked hard on the project.  Congratulate and reward them for their diligence - they deserve it.  Go out for dinner as a team, give them an early night off, etc.  Show them that their good work did not go unnoticed.

Focus on how well the team worked.  Apart from asking yourselves what you could’ve done better, congratulate yourselves on what aspects of the project worked really well.  This emphasizes the ‘winning’ aspects of your work.

Look forward to the next challenge.  Get the team excited about the next project, if there is one.  Don’t make any false promises of winning.  Instead, make a concrete action plan that earns the confidence of your teammates.

POSTED IN: Office politics, Project Management, Workplace Wellness, Cube life

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