I just retired from an “over 40” soccer league playing against former college players and in some cases ex-professionals. The intensity and the will to win is still there even if the “legs” aren’t what they once were.
Most of us are still “legends in our own minds….”
Last season, I was defending a very good player named Terry. He was probably the best player on the field that day and I wasn’t by any stretch.
I managed to frustrate Terry for the most of the game which led him to unleash his angst in a rant projected my direction. It went something like this; “you’re no good; you’re just an amateur.” In the heat of the moment, I replied “that’s right, I’m an amateur and you’re playing on the same field as I, what does that say about you?” In business, in the heat of the moment we behave the same way.
While it was funny and it put things into context, I could have handled it better.It fed my ego to generate a laugh from the other players and it belittled Terry to a certain extent. It certainly didn’t earn any goodwill from Terry.
Instead, my approach could have been to smile at Terry, walk over to him; acknowledge his frustration and say the same thing to him I said out loud in private and pat him on the back or shake his hand in an encouraging manner. It would have set a better tone for the rest of the game and I could have turned Terry into a friendly acquaintance instead of a detractor.