With the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games XXI now underway, the excitement for me is surrounding the Australian Diamonds Netball Team – especially as the team have made it a clean sweep so far with a record-breaking 108 goals scored against Fiji in their most recent match last night. For me there are a few reasons that the Diamonds resonate with me so much…I was once associated with the team as a player; Leading Teams have worked with the team for the past six years; and I still have great relationships closely associated with the game.

Very recently Leading Teams were lucky enough to have the Australian Diamonds’ head coach Lisa Alexander visit our team training day to talk all things Diamonds and their Commonwealth Games preparation.

One point that clearly stuck with me was the Diamond’s team-first squad mentality and how well they’re working together as a whole team.

The reason this stuck with me so strongly was my instant flash back to teams where there was a very strong squad mentality and equally those teams where there was a very clear division between players.

I have no doubt when reading this you too may recollect divisive, toxic, or low performing teams you’ve been a part of. You may be in one right now…

So, what does a squad mentality look like?

It looks like teams that:

  • Trust and respect one another
  • Have a strong bond that you can see and feel
  • Have each other’s back
  • Keep team talk within the team
  • Feel empowered to voice their opinion and provide feedback to all members of the squad (including their leaders and coaches)
  • Treat all team members equally
  • Know each other so well and have developed such strong relationships that they know when to get around and support each other
  • Reward team and individual success
  • Spend time getting to know one another
  • Quite simply have shared values, agreed behaviours and a strong passion in their field.

We’ve all heard the team quotes that circulate sporting and corporate groups to inspire us to be a team and work together, one my team tend to use a lot is “none of us are as smart as all of us” and another I’m sure you’re all familiar with is “teamwork makes the dream work”.

Why then is something that sounds so simple so difficult to achieve?

How do we create this squad mentality?

For many, the answer lies in the team culture and behaviours. So how do you best create a strong and high performing culture within your team?

At Leading Teams our high performance model is the blueprint of what we do with all teams we work with.

We work with organisations to facilitate the development of their leaders. We help teams to create an agreed behavioural framework – or ‘trademark’ – and develop strong professional relationships that create a safe environment in which team members can have genuine conversations about performance.

The Diamonds’ trademark is ‘Sisters in Arms’ – which won’t mean anything to you or I, but to them it meaningfully represents, along with the set of agreed behaviours that goes with it, who they are and the way they do things.

Investing time and energy in building strong professional relationships is critical to developing levels of mutual trust and respect in a team environment. Once team members have this they allow themselves to engage in regular, honest dialogue about individual and team performance and increase their capacity to improve. Teams that recognise that giving feedback and responding appropriately to that feedback is what makes them high performing are the ones that exhibit a powerful squad mentality.

We’re extremely proud to be working with Lisa and the Diamonds. To find out how we can help your team be a high performing team give us a call now on 03 9654 3744.

Go Diamonds!!


Kelly Vennus

Kelly Vennus