The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 has rewarded its fans with some spectacular cricketing moments. While Mumbai have gone on to be the deserving champions, the top four teams that qualified for the playoffs this year have each demonstrated thorough professionalism combining teamwork with training, discipline, resilience, street smarts and some shrewd strategizing.
The success of the the four teams that made it to the playoffs—Mumbai Indians, Rising Pune Supergiants, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders—holds important leadership lessons for the corporate world. The following tips hold good both on the cricket field as well as the corporate arena.
Team work require team balance
Team: Mumbai Indians
A bowling attack with the firepower to trouble any opposition, a formidable batting line-up, and a pack of capable all-rounders made the Mumbai Indians one of the better balanced teams in the IPL. The result was evident: Mumbai stormed into the playoffs at the top of the points table, and despite their disappointing loss to Pune in the qualifiers, went on to beat their nemesis when it mattered most and stake their claim to the trophy.
Team lesson: Team balance is vital to building a great team, but is also among the most neglected. One reason is because managers are prone to hire people that are exactly like them. Breaking from the mold and hiring people with dissimilar attributes brings diversity with all its attendant advantages like a range of strengths and a wealth of ideas and perspectives. The result is quality decision-making and better overall performance.
Trust is an important factor in team effectiveness
Team: Kolkata Knight Riders
The team management swears by the benefits backing the team—and the strategy has paid off well. “I believed in giving a lot of security to the players. In today’s world where there is so much insecurity in every job and not only cricket, we are a franchise who does not chop and change too much,” captain Gautam Gambhir says. It’s a big part of the reason why the two-time champions found themselves in the reckoning for a third title this year.
Team lesson: With hire-and-fire policies the norm, the benefits of backing the team are often ignored in today’s corporate environment. Yet it is only reasonable that each employee is given a real chance at the job rather than chop and change at the slightest hint of failure. But don’t overdo it—sometimes, it isn’t just worth your time to cling on to idlers and shirkers.
Delegate the right tasks to the right people
Team: Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling attack is among the best in the tournament, but skipper David Warner’s handling of his bowlers has provided the X factor that has converted potential into results. The skipper hasn’t been afraid to change his attack depending on the nature of the opposition. Thus, he opened with slow left armer Bipul Sharma against Brendon McCullum and Jason Roy who are comfortable against fast bowling, while also opting for Siraj over Nehra in the later stages of the tournament since the former generates more pace.
Team lesson: A set approach to problem-solving is often a drain on time and resources, while a customized solution is freqently the best and most efficient way to deliver results. In other words, remember to ‘pick horses for courses’—be it in terms of deploying team members, or choosing a strategy, or other aspects of management.
Clear and concise communication is key to team work
Team: Rising Pune Supergiants
Their loss in the finals notwithstanding, the Rising Pune Supergiants’ IPL campaign has been nothing short of a dream run this year—and some of that credit must go to captain Steve Smith and coach Stephen Fleming. Reports suggest that both the men prefer minimal communication, keeping their messages short and sharp. “The coach and the captain don’t talk too much. They talk about only specific things which are to be discussed. We don’t have too many meetings as well as it takes too much of time. It’s clear message—short and sharp,” squad member Manoj Tiwary has revealed. The method has clearly paid off, with Rising Pune Supergiants finishing runners-up after languishing at seventh position last season.
Team lesson: While communicating properly is rightly emphasized, the disadvantage of over- communication is less talked about. But the latter comes with its own set of pitfalls: much of the message is lost in the noise, and over-communicating strains the attention of the listener. The solution? Reverting to the basics tenets of good communication and keeping the message crisp and clear.
Whether it’s the cricket pitch or the workplace, the basics of team work and team management remain the same. So go ahead and put these tips into action. Done right, they should help you edge closer to your own professional victories.
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