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Best and Brightest, Like Star Players, Need to Be Able to Work as a Team

Don Tennant likes football. And now that football season is upon us, Tennant has shared in this article the lessons provided by J. Allan McCarthy. McCarthy's advice, in this case, is centered around how to lead a team of leaders; that is, how to get people who are used to being the leader to act as a member of the team. For instance: leaders don't behave in a team the same way as they do in a group. A team of leaders have a clear goal and rules of engagement; a group doesn't necessarily have those guidelines. Also consider where these leaders are coming from: they are used to being at the head of   the pack, and being able to strategically utilize resources to complete their vision without necessarily needing to be told what to do. This means they aren't used to taking orders, which is a problem in a team of leaders: The problem with executives is that they all want to lead and none want to follow. A team made up of executives is like a group of thoroughbred stallions confined to a small space called an organization — plenty of kicking, biting and discord. Thoroughbreds don't naturally work well as a team. Better to define responsibilities that build a “foxhole mentality,” wherein one person has the gun, the other the bullets. It's in the best interests of both for each to succeed. The strongest quality of a leadership team is the ability to resolve conflict. Hot shots can get big egos, so having people involved who have cooler heads and are willing to slow down and build relationships is remarkably important. If the team can agree to abide by certain civilities, the overall effort will benefit tremendously.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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