You’ve seen it over and over.
A professional sports team will reach deep into its pockets, stretch the limits of its budget until the seams nearly burst, and hire a star player whom they hope will save the team from the public embarassment of another losing season.
Here’s what’s happens. The leadership of that team invests all its hopes in this one performer. Why not? It’s tempting to find someone highly talented and drop the weight of the world on him. After all, isn’t he as strong as Hercules? Can’t he bear that weight like Atlas could carry the world on his shoulders, smiling all the way? This leads a leader to think he can just lay back and watch the miracle happen with little effort on his part.
The Reality is a Bit Different
There are other people on the team who will probably feel jealous of the attention the star gets.
Because the star player gets all the kudos and is expected to carry the day, the other players feel as though their effort doesn’t really matter much.
Then the leaders reinforce this by complaining to the rest of the team, saying thing like, “Why can’t you perform like the star? Don’t you care?”
That leads the lesser players to think, “Oh sure, they only care when things are bad. Then it’s always my fault. But when things are good, he always gets the credit.”
Can you see how demotivating that kind of treatment can be?
Here’s an Alternative
You have a team of players at your service. Wouldn’t you like for them to have a winning attitude? Woudn’t it be great if they were equipped to play at their best all the time?
How would you like to be able to motivate them to do these things because they want to?
If you answered “Yes”, here are 5 secrets you can use to build a winning team.
You’ll find it’s captured in Coach John Wooden’s 5th lesson on leadership:
It takes 10 hands to make a basket.
John Wooden’s teams won because every player was trained to do his best. Everyone had the opportunity to score points – and they did. If someone else had a better chance to make a shot, the nearby player would pass the ball to him. This was because …
1. The team is more important than any player.
Businesses have to be profitable to survive. If you’ve got people on your team, it’s because they have a job to do. Make sure that everyone knows her job. Be certain that her skills are as sharp as they can be.
Then remind everyone that the team is the most important thing.
Team that invest too much in a star player have a really hard time building a team around him.
In a winning team, every player matters. That’s because the star in the spotlight is the team, not the best players. Train everyone to be her best and you’ll have a winning team.
2. Create a culture of sharing.
People need the right information in order to succeed. Do they have access to it? Is your communication good enough that there is no question about the outcome you expect?
The information you share can take many forms. The sales team needs to know how much time it will take to deliver the product. The fulfillment team needs to know how many orders are coming in so they can prepare for timely delivery. The marketing team needs to find out what buyers want so they can fill the demand. All these activities contribute to profitability and continued success.
3. Praise the quiet players that contribute to the success of the organization.
There are people on your team that fill the lesser roles. These are the ones that do the things that are repetitive, dull, and completely necessary. Don’t leave them feeling as if they don’t matter. Take time to tell them how important they are. Let them know that you appreciate what they do – and do it regularly.
If you do, they’ll love you for it. And they’ll continue to work hard to achieve your desired outcomes.
Neglect this, and you’ll spend more time looking to fill vacancies on your staff. You’ll have more down time spent training that you could have spent moving ahead.
4. Look for team players instead of star players.
A star player is a tempting devil. Of course, you’d love to find someone you can count on to have above average numbers day after day. That’s every manager’s dream, right?
But if that person isn’t a team player, he will give you lots of trouble.
He’ll probably demand you pay him more money or he’ll go to the competition and work for them.
He’ll expect you to bend the rules for him because he’s making you so much money.
He’ll believe you’re so blessed to have him that you should bend over backwards to make him happy.
If he’s a team player, he won’t do any of those things.
Instead, he’ll work hard to earn more for the company. He’ll honor any agreement he made with you. He’ll follow the rules. And he’ll be happy when the team is at its best.
Which player would you rather have?
5. Never talk about winning; talk about best effort.
Coach Wooden’s players said he never talked about winning. He emphasized what the team should be doing and when. Then he left it to them to believe that if they all did those things and did them well, they’d win games.
Needing to win creates a lot of pressure, doesn’t it? Focus on doing your best instead. You’ll feel prepared. You won’t be so stressed. Then you’ll perform better overall.
And you’ll probably achieve a lot more of what you want.
Now you’ve got 5 ways you can build a winning team. If you do this, you’ll have a group in which every person knows her contribution matters. You’ll have a culture where no one is left out or left behind. And you’ll be poised to win more because everyone will be in it to win.
If nothing else, you’ll be able to end every day with your head held high.
That’s a good enough reason to work hard at anything, isn’t it?