Effective Leadership Through Cricket Analogy (Part - III) - TwoPointNet -The updates that you needed for staying ahead in the digital realm.

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Friday, July 8, 2022

Effective Leadership Through Cricket Analogy (Part - III)

 To draw a simple expression of leadership: A leader should...




1. Trust 

Many are under the apprehension that trust could be built over time. It is true. In this case, we are to read that how Mike Brearley incorporated trust within his team through actions not with mere words. Brearley was a former England cricket captain. To describe him as there are no words to match to laud his excellent art of captaincy or to say leadership skills. He was a very instinctive and a resourceful captain to bring the best out of his players. The 1981 Leeds test is the best testimonial to his reputation where he made Botham and Willis to play out of their skins against the old enemy Australians to seal a win from the jaws of defeat. More importantly, he was a visionary who is ahead of his time and never flinched to do things which are associated with high risks and seem to be very unconventional.

In the year 1977, his unconventional captaincy was very evident when the Middlesex side needed a win against Surrey to remain in the county competition to make it to the final.  As rain played a spoilsport during the most part of the match and just leaving a day to scourge for a win. The conditions were quite conducive for bowling and to fancy a win, Middlesex need to knock the Surrey side twice. In the morning of the match as Brearley led his side on to the field, one of his team members whispered in to his ears saying “we could knock them out twice”. Not surprisingly Surrey was bowled out for 42 in their first innings and by then many of the Middlesex supporters expecting the host to bat out the day to gain maximum points for a draw which would fabricate an outside chance to make it to the final. However, Brearley was not in a state to endorse the flimsy option. Much to everyone’s surprise, especially the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) members smoking pipe took a pause by hearing the news that Middlesex captain declared the innings after just facing a delivery at no runs for no wickets (0 for 0). To everyone’s madness, the Surrey was dismissed again very cheaply in their second innings for 89 leaving the host to chase down a score of 139 in 20 possible overs.  The host reached their target with 11 balls to spare and interestingly it was their captain who scored the bulk of the runs remained undefeated at 66. 

Any way the point I was trying to derive is that being a leader: 

2. Care

It comes by understanding the members of a team. In a team that not all members would have the same perspective and opinion in terms of obliging the team leader’s cause. A project team might consist of different nationalities and work on a completely alienated land. If you consider West Indies cricket team which is formed through the scattered islands of Caribbean nations where some members of the team would have come from a reputable island with much better facilities than the other island nations and not to forget the culture variances. This leads to the vegetation of inferiority and superiority complexes among the team members. As a leader, being in a responsible position should get the whole team together in order to work as a one unit.  What really matters for a leader is to formulate a methodology to converse with the team members. For instance with all the due respect if a team member is from India, then a leader should look for these flaws: they (Indians) take failure to the heart and feel that is the end of the road and heavily lack in two-way communication. This is due to the existence of hierarchical culture in India if not the class-driven society.  Therefore, leader should work on these issues to keep the team members on the same wavelength of communication and create a caption: one team, one language and ever so importantly one culture.

“I like to think I treated them as I would like to be treated, as a human being”.

                                                              - Mike Gatting, the former England cricket captain 

Gatting reflecting on the 1986 triumphant Ashes tour of Australia that how he managed to pull off a great series win by carving out different rules for different players. This was meticulously carried out courtesy to his awareness of his players’ needs. It is all about providing your team members, what they need not what they want. Much to his voluminous interest towards his players’ needs have eliminated any resentment within the team. I say this is called care. A leader must understand that all team members cannot have same views which Graham Gooch (England cricket captain, 1989-95) failed to do so as a captain and he was a mega flop. Gooch’s Ashes quest eluded him and led to the shores of exhaustion which eventually ended his captaincy tenure in 1995.

3. Share 

It is very important to share the goal with the team through a motivation factor. In an interview, the former Australian cricket team captain Richie Beanud said that prior to the 1960/61 series against the West Indies side. Sir Don Bradman who was a chief selector then, walked into the players’ dressing room and said to the team “listen guys that we selectors have decided to choose players those who play the game in the right spirit”. Eventually his words generated a great series during the soporific phase in the game.

 Bradman’s message was able to lift the players spirit was not due to his senior management role. It was the reason that he played a role of a stranger, an outsider. At times in a team environment where a captain chides invariably about the dos and don’ts of a particular task. It tends to detour the team members hearing ability and instigates lacking of team spirit. For a change, stranger (senior management) from outside the team environment could draw freshness and add value to the team’s cause. Therefore it is a recommendation to the project leaders. 

“Everyone was giving them a job; I was sharing my goal with them”. – Narayan Murthy, the cofounder of Infosys. Reflecting on how he retained the talent in his firm. 

Sharing the team’s success!  A leader should never convey a message by standing on a pulpit and triumphantly claiming that I had all the answers to the problems. It is never about I, it is about we had all the answers and this leads to a cohesiveness in the team. Share and share alike leads to the joyous in winning.

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