Leadership groups

Leading a team, however small or big requires good understanding of the team's needs. In a normal team model, there is a leader and a bunch of followers/subordinates who need to follow the leader's instructions. This is just one way traffic. How does the team communicate back to the leader? if the team is small, then its pretty one to one with the lead. In case if the team is big we need a concept of leadership group where in there are several people instead of a single one who takes care of leading and getting involved in the communications. An interesting information about this comes from cricinfo's interview with the Indian cricket coach Greg Chapell. The following is a brief extract of the article. Pls read this in the context that Indian team has just won a test match following a string of defeats. Perhaps a point to ponder for leadership skills?

For any team to be a good team, you need a strong leadership group.

It's certainly an Australian thing but it's also a success thing. Whether it's a sporting group or one from another sphere, there's a strong leadership group. You've got to share it around. I defy any team to be strong without a strong leadership group on the field.We've got small groups within the team. We meet from time to time. We also need to build leadership within the middle group and the younger group. In time they're going to be leaders and senior players.Whether we like it or not we (captain and coach) are perceived to be a part of the selection process. And so there's always going to be some diffidence in coming up and opening up to the coach and the captain. And that's why a strong leadership group is absolutely critical. Because they got to have an avenue somewhere. To be able to come to the captain or coach. Forget the names attached to it, you got to have an avenue to get their voice heard or get their message across or find out what's going on.

And that's again where the small groups we have is very important. It gives each player a chance to speak up without the captain there, or without the coach there. They have their own meetings as well and it's important that they do so because if somebody is struggling to be heard or to get a message through, it's going to affect the way they play. And that's why you can't just have one person. There's got to be a group of people. And the leadership within the team group is absolutely critical to the long-term success and the ongoing success of a team. You guys understand Indian culture much better than I do. It's all about the elders and seniors and people in responsibility who have to be listened to, no matter what. I don't claim to own all the wisdom about cricket. I have been wrong, not often, but I have been wrong. But the players need a voice, they need an avenue, they need to be heard, they need to be understood. And one person can't always be guaranteed to do that. There are two or three players who may relate to each other better than they might relate to another two or three players. Within each one of those cells, they are leaders. They are the ones who carry messages to us. And they don't always come directly either. They can come through Mane, they can come through Ramki, they can come through Frazer. They can come through one of the other players. It's not a single-lane highway, this communication thing.

Cricinfo - 'To be a good team, you need a strong leadership group'


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In my other life, I love software architecture and design, I also focus on project management skills. My other blog, concentrates on technical and project management related articles and notes.