[05.16] "Those skilled in warfare seek victory through force and do not require too much from individuals. Therefore, they are able to select the right men and exploit force." Sun Tzu
(1) When individuals feel a tremendous amount of pressure to win, they will overthink and have doubts. They inevitably feel and believe the outcome of the team is entirely in their own hands. They would ask themselves, "Can I do it or can I not?" But that would be a bad question to answer. A better question is, "How can I contribute to the team winning?"
(2) When individuals feel the force of an entire team behind them, they believe they as individuals will prevail because the team as a whole will prevail. There is a feeling there is no way everyone can fail, even when they as individuals might make mistakes along the way. So the answer to the better question above is, "I need to focus and do my own job as best I can."
Do you see the difference between the two perspectives? The first perspective spells trouble from the very start. The second perspective is attainable and can uplift, energize, and empower people to the very end, making winning an expectation and an inevitability.
[05.17] "One who exploits force commands men into battle like rolling logs and boulders. Logs and boulders are still when on flat ground, but roll when on steep ground. Square shapes are still, but round shapes roll. [05.18] Therefore, those skilled in warfare use force by making the troops in battle like boulders rolling down a steep mountain. This is force." Sun Tzu
The individuals might be "round" (e.g., happy, well-trained, motivated), but if the ground is "flat" (e.g., work environment is petty, hostile, apathetic), then those individuals' value isn't contributing to the team's progress and success. In other words, all that talent would go to waste. Why? Because of a lack of leadership. How many times have you seen this happen in an organization?
Or the ground is "steep" (e.g., work environment is caring, friendly, positive), but if the individuals are "square" (e.g., unhappy, poorly trained, unmotivated), then that environment is insufficient. Why? Because of a lack of leadership. You see it in organizations that hire poorly or allow nepotism and other unfair conditions to fester.
In both cases above, there wasn't a leader who can step back and see what is missing. There must be a leader who can provide a caring, friendly, and positive workplace and champion efforts that strengthen people's happiness, utilize what they were trained to do, and thus encouraging them to continually perform at a level they are capable and wanting to perform at.
Therefore, leaders can change the tenor of the workplace and create harmony in motion toward a favorable result. So every time you say to your team, "Let's rock and roll," make sure you have already set up the stage to where they can actually perform like rock stars.