Okay, a slightly strange topic – and tangent – for me I know bt I’ve been thinking about this for a while now (no wonder my head hurts!) and I actually think that the lessons I’ve learned whilst running one of my local pool teams – Yes, they let ME be a captain, the fools!! – are quite relevant to the business world and teams in general so, if you’ll bear with me, here are the five things I’ve learned from pool that I think will help you run your team.
Slight disclaimer, I’m not currently managing a team but I used to so that’s how I know, okay?!
Photo Credit – Darkas
1. Always be on the look out for new talent
You never know when someone may shine so always be looking around you – at other teams and just in general. Sure, your team may already be complete but you never know when someone’s going to move or – heaven forbid – leave.
Try to spot people early, and then keep an eye on them; take an interest and offer to help them. Plus, let them know that there’s a space on your team for them in the future – this is one heck of a motivator and will work wonders in your favour in your favour when they actually ask them to join you.
If you act like a true mentor they’ll be more willing to help you (and join you) at a later date.
2. Motivate your team to WIN
What’s the point in taking part in something if the outcome isn’t beneficial to everyone? This goes in line with Stephen Covey’s “Think Win/Win” mentality.
But, don’t forget that it’s not “Win at all costs”, doing that will foster resentment amongst team members. You need to think of them as a whole; every one of them has a vested interest (or should have – if they don’t there’s something wrong) in the outcome. You can’t be seen to have a “favoured” member of the team – even if they are the best person there. But that leads us on to our next point…
3. Realise winning isn’t everything
We all know that sometimes we do get into a no-win situation but don’t place too much pressure on your team. Added pressure will begin to foster resentment amongst team members – especially if one isn’t performing as well as the rest. If you take me at pool for example, I’m rubbish but the rest of the team love my enthusiasm and back me 100% – there’s no resentment or back biting.
Even if you are losing big-time (tonight it was 4-1 at one point!) and it looks like a no-win situation, you still need to be positive and let you team know that it doesn’t matter whether they win or lose they just need to enjoy themselves and do the best they can.
4. Know when to step back
If your team is running well as it is, do you really need to get involved?
If they’ve gelled, are doing well and are progressing of their own volition – are you needed to step in and or interfere?
Also, you need to realise that if there’s someone who can do something as well as, or as good as you, there’s no shame in acknowledging that. More often than not I opt out of playing a pool game – even though I may win and I’m captain – in favour of someone else who may do better.
Self-sacrifice shows a real “team player” attitude and ultimately makes people respect you as it’s not all about “You”.
5. We learn from others better than we learn from ourselves
I have several shortcomings in my pool game that my team mates have commented on. Consequently every now and again we all get together just to practice all of our week points.
Don’t make your team member’s shortcoming’s an issue – embrace them and help them learn from them. If your team is strong enough then you should all be able to help one another get better. Actively encourage others to share their own thoughts and experiences as it’ll better the team as a whole.
Making your team open, transparent and trusting will have a direct benefit to all involved.
People are a valuable resource – not just a commodity – and you need to realise that you as a manager don’t know everything. Even though you may think you do.
Remember what they say, there is “No I In Team” – and there may be a “Me” before someone points it out – but then that’s not actually a true team then is it?. You for an “I” or “Me” into a team and that’ll be the end of it sooner rather than later.
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