I’m a motorsport nut. Some of you know that.
I often get asked my views on F1, which are normally followed by an ignorant comment like “yeah, Lewis is only 5-times world champion because he is with the best team”.
They are not just the best team mechanically or aerodynamically, but they are also the best at allowing Lewis be Lewis. They don’t try to mould him into a racing driver robot who is only allowed to say and do certain things. One minute he is launching a clothing label in Shanghai, a promo shoot follows in New York. 2 days later, he is setting one of the best laps around Singapore EVER....
Lewis will tell you F1 is by far his biggest priority, but the team allows him to do things that satisfy other parts of his life.
How many times has a sports team transferred in a fabulous player, but not fulfilled their potential... (Torres to Chelsea anyone?)
Conversely, how many “average” sports people become hugely successful? (Leicester City?)
Listen to any of those interviews, and 9 times out of 10, they will tell you the coach/manager/boss allows them to be themselves, and they all have each other's backs.
Good coaches/managers don’t try & CONTROL their team and mould them into something they are not. How often have you felt suffocated at work by your line manager? They employed you for you, but then try & change you into a mini version of them.
As a leader of a team, it’s YOUR responsibility to find out what makes the team tick, and (where practical), allow them to be themselves. I promise you, the quality of their output will increase.
One size has NEVER fitted all. Stop trying.
When I think about the times in my working life when I’ve been allowed a free reign, guess what? My best work comes out. When I’ve had a controlling boss, guess what? I feel strangled, restricted and as a result, don’t perform anywhere near my peak. It’s not a conscious thing.
If you’re not sure how to find out what makes your REALLY team tick, (and I’m not talking about buying them a beer at lunchtime) we need to talk quickly. (Before I head off to Singapore to try and beat that lap.....)