Sunday, March 26, 2023

Teamwork lessons for leaders from Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni

In MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, India possesses two of the finest cricketing minds and talents. Their teamwork has been credited to India’s dominating performance in recent years, and most recently at the Cricket World Cup 2019. Kohli and Dhoni also happen to be incredible leaders, soaking up pressure and leading by example when it counts. This dream team has a lot to teach leaders everywhere. Let’s get started.

Complement, don’t compete

The MS Dhoni leadership style is very different from Kohli’s. One is the unflappable risk taker while the other is animated and clinical. It would be easy to see how these styles could clash, except when they don’t. An open mind and a respect for new ideas mean that Dhoni’s presence in the team doesn’t undermine but augments Virat Kohli’s leadership qualities. If you are a seasoned direct seller or just starting, the chances are that you may work with people from different backgrounds and even generations. Be curious and open to their opinions while maintaining a strong focus on collective success.

Play to your strengths

While there is no question that final authority rests with Kohli, Dhoni takes important calls like adjusting field settings, especially in the middle overs when the spinners are on. Kohli sees the value of Dhoni as a leader and gives him freedom accordingly. Dhoni’s calm exterior provides a worthy counterpoint to Kohli’s fiery spirit, and both players have found a way to make this work for the team. Kohli inspires the team with his aggression, Dhoni offers assurance. Often leaders can get caught up in their titles and try to do everything themselves. Through self-awareness and objectivity, these cricketers have been able to forge a partnership based on their strengths, providing India with a cricketing intellect that is the envy of rivals. Consider the positive qualities of your fellow team members and work out how their abilities can allow you to play to your strengths.

Respect and support

Ever since Dhoni stepped down from the ODI captaincy in 2017, calls for him to move aside have come from several quarters. While Dhoni’s reaction has been unexpectedly stoic, Kohli’s support for him continues to be nothing short of intense. No longer the devastating finisher he was in his prime, Dhoni still adds substantial value through his nifty glove work, sharp cricketing mind and stable middle order batting. The respect and support of his captain have meant that he can continue to contribute to the team. As leaders, you must look to learn from your team members while helping them grow in any way they can, and you will soon have an army of powerful allies invested in your development.

Professional careers can frequently feel like single-player games, where success is a function of grit and individual brilliance. The reality, however, is that as social beings, we are built to collaborate, share, and grow together. Identifying leaders within your network and finding ways to work together is a surefire strategy to accelerate your progress and learning.

Have you picked up any ideas from the sport that you use in your career? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

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