As I wrote some days ago, I had the pleasure to meet my former handball coach during a business event.
He was invited to speak about sports, about the management of the handball teams he managed during last 20 years, leadership and so on. This has been organized like a Q&A session, having about 25 young managers in the room.
I learned that in sports round about 75% of the success is conditioned about the inborn skills. Therefore, it is very important how it is made the selection and the first training sessions. As a parallel, in team management, having the right guys onboard since the beginning, we maximize the chances of a successful team. This is particularly true for junior positions, where there is no successful track of achievements to be presented during an interview
Having this entry point secured, we discussed what is important for a team (in sports, but not only). This is given by some boundary conditions (budget, history, “socios”, other stakeholders). We are not always in the position of Real Madrid, where the budget is not an issue, we are not in the position of Manchester City (having one all mighty owner) and so on. Usually, the performance and ratio performance vs cost is given by stability in management, concepts of training and promotion in the first team. I am making again a comparison with technical teams. You cannot get the ultimately best persons in the team, resources you can spend are limited and you don’t have a single stakeholder to convince. Therefore, it is up to you, the team manager, to identify how to integrate a new team member, how to cover the gaps in terms of knowledge, to imagine a path to next level, in order to keep things under control. Otherwise, you might reach the situation of Steaua Bucharest, who had more than 100 players in 4 years and only one trophy won in 6 years.
Usually, this is supported by an inclusive team culture, where mistakes are allowed if they were done based on goodwill. Hiper competition is ruining the team spirit and there is no prediction to indicate the level of performance for next level.
The other thing we spoke about, somehow related to culture is the style of playing. Barcelona is playing tiki-taka, other teams play more athletic styles. This team my coach spoke about is using a speedy type of playing, based on a lot of effort and very bold attitude. This concept does not fit everyone, so there were players who wanted a transfer to a team which they felt more convenient. In addition, only the goalkeeper has been a little star. The rest of the play is based on team effort and they are successful together. Actually, as wrote in another post, the coach has been the star.
To continue the parallel, you might get excellent employees on your team that simply don’t fit. This is up to you to realize and react. People develop other skills, learn new topics and might even adhere to new ways of doing things. But this happens only when you know all very good. A good understanding of their needs and wishes gives you the chance to quickly react in turmoils, motivate them with right incentives and have a loyal team.
This giving and receiving game is also influenced, in sports, by the contract management. How soon the contract is extended, how is the salary increased or not. When a certain player is simply let to move to another team. Why excellent individuals are not allowed to be part of the team.
It’s the same with the rest of the teams. All the team members are supposed to grow. This is an immediate benefit but comes with the boomerang effect that a sustained growth will make him be promoted outside of your team. Think about this and prepare a replacement strategy. Give him the information that you are working to allow him to move up if the case. Build an open relationship, so you are able to get informed and give targets in at same time.