Team Management in the fast Lane

Hey! Let the mechanic drive ...see if he can do better!
(Originally posted autumn 2010)

In my last blog, we looked at a key principle of team management - the importance of playing people in the right position:
Play people in position. Use their natural strengths and abilities. Let them do the work they love to do, in the way they do it best, if it adds value to the company.
If you need more from themand before you play them in a new position for a critical event: 
make sure they’re up for the challenge, have adequate training and support, and time to acclimatise.

Misusing this principle is a mistake often seen in business.
Take an executive; let’s call him John, highly skilled in analytical, technical tasks, of high value to the company. He tends to work alone, make strategic decisions and recommend them to the Board.
His contribution gets recognised. At a critical moment for the business, to raise performance, he’s promoted and becomes manager to a team of twenty people. – Guess what, he’s now playing out of position. His key skill was technical analysis. He prefers to work alone – and now his key requirement is managing people… Potentially, he may not even leave the Pit Lane.
A key principle of team management is to play to people’s strengths, their natural skills and position. But if you want to stretch them into a less natural role – give them time to adjust and give them support.
Executives can be promoted successfully to positions where new (and initially unnatural) managerial skills are required. 
If they aren’t natural leaders, they may need coaching and training – and time to acclimatise – before performing at their highest level.

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