Leadership and team dynamics lessons from golf - Business Works
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Leadership and team dynamics lessons from golf

by Doug Mackay, MD, Collingwood Executive Recruitment The golfing world's eyes are all on Gleneagles and The Ryder Cup this weekend, as Europe prepare to do battle with the USA.

With Europe winning 7 of the last 9 Ryder Cups, it is evident that the Europeans continue to have a strong team in place. However, with a team of highly talented individuals, it is down to the Captain and their Leader, Paul McGinley, to ensure that he identifies each of their qualities and works out how to best utilise their talents to bring success to the team.

There are a lot of similarities in the business world and there are a number of lessons that we can learn from each of the character types in the European team. Here are some thoughts on this and how this can be related to business, says Doug Mackay, MD at Collingwood Executive Recruitment.

The Leader

ensure the superstars in the team reach their full potential

Paul McGinley
Ryder Cup (RC) Record 3 appearances (P9 [played] W2 [Won] L2 [Lost] H5 [Halved])

The leader may not be highly active and as visible in the field of play, but still has a strong presence from the sidelines (and is often seen walking the fairways or riding alongside)! They are viewed as the person with the most experience, who helps to establish the strategy and gives overall guidance and motivation. They are the person who identifies the team members that need more support than others and they ensure the superstars in the team reach their full potential.

The experienced

Lee Westwood RC Record - 8 appearances (P37 W18 L13 H6)
Thomas Bjorn RC Record - 2 appearances (P6 W3 L2 H1)
Sergio Garcia RC Record 6 appearances (P28 W16 L8 H4)

'The Experienced' team members are seen as the Leader's right hand men. Often in the field of play (or on the greens) they can offer more 'hands on' guidance. They are also there to help motivate the group and are seen as an alternative team member to 'the Leader'. Being a lot closer to the action, they are also able to identify problems as they arise and offer immediate advice and potential solutions.

The Superstar

manage them a lot more closely than others

Rory McIlroy RC Record 2 appearances (P9 W4 L3 H2)

Often teams will have a Superstar amongst them. It may be necessary to manage them a lot more closely than others. This ensures they can reach their full potential and it helps them to achieve their high personal goals. It is important to have a strong talent management plan in place that gives them access to the right tools (or clubs) to achieve success.

The Motivator

Ian Poulter RC Record 4 appearances (P15 W12 L3 H0)

Often in a team there is an individual who will help when the team are at their low points or when they need a 'pick-me-up'. These highly energetic individuals are often the ones called upon to set an example. (They provide the big win on the Saturday afternoon.) They are the lifeblood of the team and without their support you will struggle to keep your team motivated during difficult times. They may not be the most experienced individual, but are key to your success.

The Dependable

you should not take them for granted

Martin Kaymer RC Record 2 appearances (P6 W3 L2 H1)
Henrik Stenson RC Record 2 appearances (P7 W2 L3 H2)
Justin Rose RC Record 2 appearances (P9 W6 L3 H0)
Graeme McDowell RC Record 3 appearances (P12 W5 L5 H2)

In every team there are the unsung heroes - team members who sit in the background, don't make much of a noise, but are highly efficient. (They will guarantee you a point on the Sunday.) They get on with the job that is asked of them and are highly reliable. They are also often the team members that are given the most trust. However, you should not take them for granted, you still need to support them and praise them as much as the rest of the team, as without them your goals would not be possible.

The New Blood

Stephen Gallacher RC Record Rookie
Victor Dubussion RC Record Rookie
Jamie Donaldson RC Record Rookie

Every team needs a flow of new recruits. You may even take a gamble once in a while with a 'Wildcard' in order to identify and develop new opportunities. This will ensure fresh ideas and new innovations are brought in to the team. It is also very important to have a strong succession plan in place. These are the future of the team and they need to gain valuable experiences to succeed. It is often a good idea to partner them with one of 'The Experienced' team members in order for them to gain new experiences needed to reach their full potential.

Often the similarities between sport and business are made, primarily down to the fact that success, whether it be on the sporting field or in the board room, is reliant on getting the right team in place. It will be interesting to see these character dynamics come to the fore and see who has the better team this weekend. There is no doubt who we'll be supporting.

Come on Europe!

For more information, please visit: www.collingwoodsearch.co.uk

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