Talent and dedication are not enough. Team work and leadership are essential but recent management research suggests successful teams have something else. Drawing from the example of sport they suggest that winning teams have a Catalyst within.
Every successful team has a catalyst, some one who makes things happen, who brings out the best in those around them and exerts a positive influence on the whole team.
According to the latest management thinking ( The Catalyst Effect, Toomer , Caldwell, Wetzenkorn and Clark ) organisations that have delayered their management structures need to learn the lessons of successful sports teams. Don’t just recruit on talent but look to identify individuals who combine team work and leadership. The unspectacular, low profile individual who brings out the best in those around them and exerts a positive influence on the whole team.
This individual makes everyone play better, brings others into the game, knows how to get the best out of those along side them and is a positive influence on the field, in training and in the dressing room.
A high profile international player known for his outrageous skills publicly dismissed one of his team mates as, “just a water carrier”. Meaning he did not give the team any creativity. In response the manager pointed out that when this individual played the team won.
This is more than being a good team player some one who is prepared to do their fair share of the unattractive stuff and help out a colleague should the need arise, there is after all an expectation everyone will be a team player. This is an unofficial leader, not some one who challenges the manager or acts as a spokes person for the disaffected but someone who is capable of inspiring others and gets their satisfaction out of seeing colleagues do well.
Modern organisation that have streamlined their management structures, got rid of deputies and assistant managers and given managers wider spans of responsibility need to fill the gaps with individuals who combine team work and leadership.
The message from the research is when putting together a multidisciplinary team don’t just recruit on talent but look for catalysts, individuals who brings out the best in those around them and exert a positive influence on the whole team.
Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk