Dame Katherine Grainger, Great Britain’s most-decorated female Olympian, gives her thoughts on teamwork, trust and coping with change.
Dr Katherine Grainger has made a habit of turning her dreams into reality; she is Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, with medals in five consecutive Games, and was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours list for her services to sport and charity. Her autobiography, published in 2013, is entitled: Dreams Do Come True.
In it, she writes: “Whatever the result of the challenge, it’s worth being out there in the dust and the dirt. It’s worth the battle and the scars and possible heartbreak. It’s worth having dreams as you never know how and when they might come true.”
Here, she shares her insights on what it takes to create trust in teams and how you can cope with adversity to propel yourself to success:
Teams can create magic
Whether in sport or any other situation, the bond you can create when you are absolutely and utterly dependent on each other to produce a result, is incredibly powerful.
You might all have different motivations for doing something, but by being honest about these, the trust you can create in the team can result in magic.
It’s worth having dreams as you never know how and when they might come true”
Trust between people is a key element of success
The level of trust that can be created when you give your hopes, dreams and ambitions to somebody else and they give you theirs – and you are utterly dependent on each other – is so exciting.
It means that when you are under the greatest possible pressure, you have absolute clarity of thought. Trust ultimately comes when you start performing together. When everyone gets it, the buy in is felt, then you boost the trust.
Trust ultimately comes when you start performing together”
Trust comes when you appeal to human emotion
There doesn’t always have to be a massive goal, but it has to be important to people. Humans will always be motivated humanly.
You have to speak to the people you’re leading, ensure everyone has individual missions, they know what value they’re adding, then try to create pride in that individual addition they can make.
Lean into change
It’s intimidating and you have to acknowledge that, but also embrace it. It’s an opportunity to ask yourself what you are passionate about and what drives you.
Being honest with yourself is vital. I know a lot of people who go into something because they feel they ought to, but be honest about what you really want and you will find the way much easier. You have to ask hard questions of yourself and dig deep, but it’s worth it.