Leadership Lessons from Captain Cool

“When I die, the last thing I want to see is the six that Dhoni hit in the 2011 world cup final.” – Sunil Gavaskar

ms DhoniIn 2011, “Dhoni finishes off in style. India lift the World Cup after 28 years” .
Click here to  experience this incredible moment —> pic.twitter.com/Q61sLx10VA

I have been leading a USTA team for the past 5 seasons and MSD is a great case study for leading teams.  Having watched on TV, MSD play and lead over the past decade and read the many articles published on his smart leadership style, I correlated this with my own experience leading a USTA team and have summarized my assimilated point of view on Leading Teams.

Leadership is more art than science. Being maximally effective as a leader means being able to diagnose the situation and adopt the leadership approach that works best. And that’s exactly what MSD has excelled in and I have tried to adopt.

  1. Honesty to yourself first. Accept your shortcomings, then learning starts. Stay honest to your goal. Ask yourself how much have you contributed to your team. As Hardik Pandya shared on a fond memory of an advice he had received from MSD on handling tough situations as a Captain, “In my early days, I asked Mahi bhai one question. I asked him how he gets away from pressure, and he gave me some very simple advice — ‘stop thinking about your own score and start thinking about what your team requires’. From very early, that lesson has stuck to my mind and helped me become the kind of player I am now,”
  2. Focus on the present and the controllables, keep it simple and take care of the small steps well.
  3. Display Competency: Establish credibility through display of knowledge and expertise in the domain the team engages in. This encourages the team members to follow and look at the leader as a role model.
  4. Establish Trust: Listen and incorporate inputs from team members. Active coaching and providing means to get better, is better than giving negative feedback. Being transparent about difficult decisions helps build trust.                                 
  5. Promote Communication:  This is probably the biggest one from my perspective. Team members must have the ‘energy’ and comfort level to interact face to face and the more the interactions you can help facilitate and build, the better. And secondly it is not just enough if few members exhibit this, the entire team or a majority must. The level of ‘engagement’ within the entire team is a critical factor. And lastly team members must ‘explore’ opportunities in the field outside the group and network and bring back those ideas into your team. This is the ideal communication model that you as a leader must ensure happens.
  6. Embrace the Cause: Take complete ownership and responsibility of the people, process and outcome. Hard work matters. Respect elders. Be Humble. Do tough things with a smile.
  7. Learn Constantly: Stay humble, learn from peers and more experienced/skilled people, learn from mistakes. Ask yourself, what extra can I do. ‘Fun / good time’ is when you are learning or enjoying what you have learnt.
  8. Know Yourself: Self assurance comes from knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Be calculated in your risk taking.
  9. Trust your instinct/gut feel: The key here is that you have to turn up for practice and competition,  build more experiences, broaden and deepen your knowledge of the domain, fellow competitors, your own team members , match & conflict situations.
  10. Manage your emotions and Stay calm under pressure: Control your emotions to think about the process than the result. Oh, what we all wouldn’t give for getting this quality transferred over to us from MSD !! But it can be learned and practiced like any other skill. Staying composed, focused, and effective under pressure are all about your mentality. People who successfully manage crises are able to channel their emotions into producing the behavior they want. Based on my observations, the secret is a 3 step process,
    1. Forestall the panic, manage your emotions
    2. Think logic and critical reasoning, it’s time to ask yourself important factual questions
    3. Take action, but don’t beat yourself up, keep your energy on things you can control.

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Well, this is just here so that you will come back for atleast this video again ! –  The famous helicopter shots of MSD, ENJOY! 🙂

629-Star_dhoni_mainGod is not coming to save us., Captain Cool

This entry was posted in Lifestyle, Mental, Passion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Leadership Lessons from Captain Cool

  1. Pingback: What I learnt from a Decade of Tennis | Being an Amateur/Adult Tennis Athlete

  2. Pingback: Living a Tennis Inspired Life | Being an Amateur/Adult Tennis Athlete

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