The recent ball-tampering ‘scandal’ involving the Australian Cricket team may have caused endless hours of debate in lunch rooms around the country but it highlighted a number of valuable leadership development lessons that can be applied in the workplace.
Aside from questions over the leadership skills of some of the senior team members, there have also been questions over an apparent toxic ‘culture’ embedded within the team. So what can business managers and team leaders learn about how to develop a positive, productive and supportive culture within your team?
What is the ‘culture’ of an organisation and how does it develop?
First of all we need to understand what we mean by a culture in a business. Essentially, it’s the values, beliefs and behaviours displayed within a team or organisation. As the chief of WA Cricket, Christina Matthews highlights:
“A culture is everybody’s responsibility. As the leaders and the CEOs of all of those organisations it’s our job to set the standard and to bring our staff and our players on that journey.”
Part of this journey is about defining and agreeing on the norms and expectations of behaviour.
So what can we learn about leadership development from the Australian Cricket story?
The importance of effective communication
So the first leadership development lesson that can be learned is the importance of effective communication. Never assume that everyone is ‘on the same page’. Teams that can discuss and agree on what is acceptable are much more likely to hold each other accountable and foster a positive and supportive environment. So take the time to engage your team, ask for their input and lead by example.
The influence of leadership style
Which brings us to the second aspect of this saga that we can learn from: the influence of leadership style. This is the way in which you engage your team, provide direction and motivate them. While there are a number of common leadership styles, an underlying trait of the most effective leaders is high levels of emotional intelligence or interpersonal effectiveness.
While a manager’s leadership style can change depending on the team and the situation, the fact is that leaders who have ‘people-focussed’ skills – clear and respectful communication, the ability to encourage trust and positive relationships, and are skilled at conflict resolution – tend to have teams with higher productivity, increased engagement and fewer ‘HR’ issues.
The role of the manager
And one final lesson that we can take from this news story is about the vital role that managers play in the effective running of any team. The best managers allow different leaders to emerge according to their particular strengths and facilitate the team’s success. As Peter Drucker said: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
At Head Strong Workplaces, we work with organisations to embed positive cultures, develop focussed teams and build exceptional leaders.
Maybe your organisation would benefit from a Team Health Check?
We have used the Team Health Check in many organisations as a first step towards building a strong, focussed, collaborative and highly supportive team culture. It’s a great tool for team and leadership development and an opportunity for genuine engagement and collaboration with your staff, to ask them what’s working, what isn’t, and, most important of all, what their ideas are for how the workplace can become even better.
And finally don’t forget about the impact on people’s mental health when things do go wrong. Regardless of your thoughts on the behaviour of those in the spotlight of the cricket scandal, it was obvious the heavy toll that it was taking on their mental health. The role of a good leader is also to recognise when someone needs support and be able to offer strategies to help people access the help they need in times of excessive stress and anxiety. Our Mental Health First Aid programs are an invaluable tool for businesses to support their staff.
If your organisation would benefit from leadership training or an assessment of leadership styles or you want to build a strong, supportive and productive team environment through one of our tailored team building workshops, give us a call today on 0438 770 850 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.