Archive for June, 2014

Stop Using Sport as a Work Team Reference Point

Posted on June 27, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

There, I’ve said it!

As a person who loves my sport and who loves my work with teams and leaders I often find it frustrating and misleading when people use a sporting team as a reference point for how a work team should operate.

Stop it!

There are major, major differences that make the analogy inappropriate and misleading.

Sport teams do not spend extended periods of time together for the majority of the week like work teams do. Teams at work must be able to get along with other on an ongoing basis and be able to handle tension, conflict, humour and ongoing/routine tasks and work.

Work Teams are not given the same amount of public praise for success (or public outcry for errors) as a sporting team – their experiences are generally behind the scenes.

Sport teams have an extensive network of support coaches and health/fitness/well being experts on hand and at their beck and call. Work teams usually rely on their supervisor or line manager for support (one person for the whole team) or they may individual have limited access to a coach or mentor, but not always.

Sport teams have very specific and clear goals and measures of success, unlike work teams who may be responsible for providing services or products over a period of time and adapting as they go to consumer and management expectations. Not all work teams have visibility of the impact of the work that they do.

Stop the sport analogies because they do not apply in full.

There are some elements that may apply,

– such as a sport team of stars does not necessarily win the premiership/championship. And a work team of star performers does not always perform well together. Every team needs a balance of styles, skills and talents that suit the purpose/goal of the team.

– at work performance is affected by what happens outside the workplace, so just as sport stars need to hone their sport skills as well as manage their nutrition and lifestyle, so must work teams take care of the whole and not just the work skills.

– good leaders often come from within, but not always.

From the perspective of me being a leadership skill builder and coach I ask that you look deeper than sporting credibility and performance when seeking someone to guide and build your team.  Leaders and teams at work need to deal with a complex array of work, personal and interpersonal dynamics in order to be effective. Those dynamics change daily, even hourly.

Let’ s work on identifying other suitable reference points for an effective team.

Perhaps otters who when the weather is rough, modify their behaviour so they stay together and survive the rough weather as a unit (or dare I say a team)

Consider the manner in which different types of animals work with their own species as well as integrating with other species to aid the health and survival of each (the obvious example is the birds who eat the bugs off rhinos or crocodiles without fear of harm.

Reflect on an effective landscape or garden eco system where the diversity of plants increases the health of each plant without draining the soil of all its nutrients because they are complimentary.

I’d love to read any other ideas or suggestions about different analogies that we can bring to the world of work.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...