Every successful sports coach knows that a team of stars is not a team unless they are willing to channel their talents to the team rather than individual outcomes.
Sports teams that get this right create something unique and special. They work together to raise the overall performance of the group.
Collaboration is key to success
In these teams, even if there are individuals who are star players, they understand the need to be part of a team to win.
In contrast, if individual team members concentrate on their own success and do not act in the team’s best interest, they fail to achieve results.
In every aspect of life — whether business, school or sports — if a team works collaboratively, they will accomplish and achieve more than any one individual.
A team of stars is not a team unless they are willing to channel their talents to the team rather than individual outcomes
Fostering a collaborative environment
Workplaces, like sporting environments, require a collaborative environment to deliver outcomes greater than the sum of what each individual can achieve alone.
If you have ever had the privilege of working in a truly collaborative work environment, you will know that energy is high, the relationships are healthy, and the group achieves more than they ever thought possible.
Research shows that collaborative teams increase productivity and a range of other positive outcomes.
If a team works collaboratively, they will accomplish and achieve more than any one individual
There’s no ‘I’ in team
In a workplace where star players are allowed to absent themselves from collaboration, there will be negative repercussions for the team outcomes and the team members.
This causes challenges in the working environment and results in people feeling undervalued and others being overvalued.
There is also a high risk that star players will develop heightened levels of egotistical behaviour.
Collaborative teams increase productivity and a range of other positive outcomes
All for one and one for all
In today’s world, allowing individuals to separate themselves from the team is no longer viable for achieving sustainable results.
A volatile and constantly changing business environment requires the full capacity of the team as no one person has all the answers, even if they are a star.
Organisations must leverage the full potential of the team capacity, not just the expertise of an individual.
Allowing individuals to separate themselves from the team has too many negative repercussions.
Organisations must leverage the full potential of the team capacity, not just the expertise of an individual
Ensuring equity and validation
This is not to say that star players and all other team members should not be validated for their contributions.
There needs to be equity in how people are treated to ensure everyone is engaged in helping navigate an unstable business environment and build a psychologically safe workplace.
Strategies for ensuring effective team integration
The critical strategies required to ensure that your star players are effectively integrated into the team while being supported to deliver excellence in their area of expertise are:
1. Ensure the team goal is clear and define the focus for the team
Defining a joint team vision and goals that will support the delivery of that vision is an essential part of bringing the team together.
In any team, there are different roles to be carried out. However, despite differences, the vision and goals maintain the group’s unity.
The team goals must include agreed requirements for effective collaboration and relationship building.
2. Develop the collaborative capacity in the team
Work to ensure that rivalries are achievement-orientated, not personal.
It will be essential to have team collaboration activities designed to expose ego-related behaviour and build connections.
Make sure that everyone continues to feel part of the team.
3. Develop the constructive thinking and emotional intelligence of the team (including the star players)
Without ongoing learning and development, individuals will be unable to stay updated with the changing world and remain agile to adjust as and when required.
We have talked about lifelong learning for many years, but now more than ever, this is essential.
The capacity to withstand the volatile and changing external environment requires that individuals are continuously learning and growing.
Research shows that developing mental agility and building emotional intelligence support individuals to thrive in today’s volatile world.
This development is essential for star players to build their capacity to work collaboratively.
Make sure that everyone continues to feel part of the team
4. Provide mentoring for the star players to ensure they are supported to develop their ability to work with others
We have known for a long time that coaching and mentoring are essential developmental strategies.
Mentoring, in particular, is a compelling way of supporting high flyers and stars.
Mentors can tailor development to the individual’s specific needs.
They can support the stars by helping them extend their intellectual and emotional development and enhance their impact on the team.
Developing mental agility and building emotional intelligence support individuals to thrive
5. If your star players choose not to collaborate, allow them to exit the team
If a star player decides they do not want to be a part of a collaborative working environment.
In that case, they should be allowed to exit the team and the organisation respectfully.
For years we have heard: “I know they are disrespectful and rude to other people, but they are good at their job”.
The time for allowing people to refuse to collaborate has passed.
Mentoring … is a compelling way of supporting high flyers and stars
Achieving sustainable outcomes
Just because an individual is intelligent or technically competent is not enough reason to allow them to damage team collaboration.
To navigate the changes of a volatile environment, organisations must focus on building collaborative teams to deliver sustainable outcomes.
Businesses can not afford to be held over a barrel by a star player, even if they are exceptional.
It is time to learn from the world of sports and embrace the importance of collaboration and connectivity.
If you enjoyed this, read: Polarity management: A powerful OD tool you need to know