Posted by Robert Half on 03 July 2014
Starting 12 June, nearly half the planet will be sleep-deprived as they settle in to watch the World Cup. It’s a feat that individual sporting events can never quite equal – there’s just something about the concept of ‘team’ that pulls at our very souls. The team dynamic speaks to us as something greater than ourselves – something better and more complete to which we can belong.
The winning team
The World Cup won’t be won by individuals. Alone, no captain, team veteran, star player, new signing or head coach will take home the prize. It’s the best team – the group that has the in-demand skills and expertise – that will triumph.
Business is no different. Like sport, business is a team event. No single person can do it all. Each team member has his or her own abilities and contributions to make. But it’s what happens when they come together – in the right way – that brings home the win.
The most important person in any World Cup team will never take to the field and never kick a ball: the head coach, or, in the case of business, the manager. The manager is ultimately responsible for putting together the dream team. It’s the manager’s job as leader, motivator and decision-maker to identify and nurture teammates’ traits and strengths, and in so doing build a team that is better than the sum of its parts. A dream team isn’t just picked – it’s created through good coaching.
Of course, the manager is going to want a strong team captain, or team leader – the one who always has his eye on the ball. That’s the guy who leads by example, provides clear direction, inspires his teammates and solves problems. He has a certain degree of power and autonomy to call the plays as they happen.
Certainly, experienced professionals are also crucial to any team, both of the sporting and business variety. These team members bring their skills, expertise and acquired know-how to the rest of the team, actively participating in team pursuits, sharing their knowledge, providing solutions and meeting the demands of their roles – effectively and on time. They’re team players you can count on.
Likewise, bringing new blood into the team is key. Fresh recruits bring new ideas, processes and procedures to a team, often making an immediate impact, and they can help drive a team forward if you provide them with the right guidance and opportunity. If they indeed live up to their promise, they may develop into some of your star players.
The star player
Move over, Cristiano Ronaldo – the workplace has star players, too. These are the employees who consistently perform at a high level. They are productive and efficient, often lifting the game of other team members and helping the team reach new heights. They thrive under pressure, and when you pass them the ball, you can be sure they’ll deliver results. One thing to remember though: such top performers are always in demand, and if you don’t provide them with challenges and opportunities, they may go looking for another team (or someone may come looking for them).
It’s always important to remember the referee as well. In business, this might be the compliance officer, or another impartial staff member who knows (and plays by) the rules and consistently promotes the company’s values and best practices. The referee’s role often involves supporting the manager, communicating the company vision and ensuring that the team understands and adheres to company policies and procedures.
And sometimes you need to look further – to an extension of your team – for help building your dream team. Talent scouts – recruiters – have access to wide-ranging networks and are constantly on the lookout not only for professionals with the skills you need but truly talented candidates who will help shape your ultimate dream team.
Find out more about the business lessons you can learn from the World Cup.