Why do some super teams flourish while others don’t?

In recent times, we have seen super teams after super teams being formed in various sports. The likes of the Galacticos in Real Madrid when we were younger, to the Big 4 in Golden State Warriors and now, the reunion of Dwyane Wade and Lebron James in the already dominating Cleveland out in the Eastern Conference of the NBA. When we mention super teams, we are talking about multiple superstar level players coming together trying to win the elusive championship.

On paper, it’s easy to think that these teams should easily rack up the wins effortlessly. However, history has proven that not all super teams turn out as well as expected. Some take a little longer e.g. Miami Heat with the Big 3 of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and some never quite happened e.g. The 3 superstars in Los Angeles with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

Question is why? Why do some flourish almost immediately and others, became a flop altogether? One thing for sure, as an employer branding agency, we know that talent alone doesn’t guarantee success. Even with the best talents onboard, it’s only half the job done. There are still other condiments that have to be put into the pot to ensure that it brings out the best in the talent that you have in it. So, what do we need? These are some things for teams in whichever setting – sports, corporations, clubs, to consider:

Build trust

Trust is the foundation of great teamwork. Before going out to conquer your respective battles, you want to know that the person on your team is someone you can depend on and one that you are willing to open up to.

I was once on a team that had top individual contributors who were extremely guarded. This meant that despite an environment with great talents, my team members were often keeping information to themselves and not willing to share things that might benefit the team. Imagine this, if I cannot even get a simple piece of information readily from my team, how do I trust them to protect me when heading out for a rough battle with our “enemies”? Why would I then want to share anything to make them better? How can the team thrive if everyone is in silo?

Team before self

This leads me to the next point where there is a strong need by the leader to emphasize on the importance of team before self. If a team with top talents are only concerned about their individual egos or personal glory, there is no way the team will flourish.

I was in teams where individuals focused on showcasing themselves to get the desired promotion year after year. What that led to was mere surface results. Disharmony took place because not everyone respected the way some individuals did things and definitely not celebrating when they got the promotion they fought for. As deserving as it may be, the promotion was a mere reflection of the individual contribution but not the individual’s disruption that prevented the team from performing at its fullest potential.

Members need to view themselves as part of a larger team rather than “you versus me”. It should be a matter of achieving collective success rather than personal glory.

Focus on a common team goal

Why do teams find it difficult to get everyone onboard? That’s often because there is no common goal agreed upon by everyone. Your KPI is usually an individual one and not team based. This means, even if the team doesn’t deliver the desired results, you can still be rewarded as long as you achieve your personal goals. That also indicates that some individuals might fight for their individual achievements at the expense of what the team needs.

Therefore, it is key to have a common goal which everyone agrees upon so that the team is steered in the right direction rather than heading everywhere. The leader needs to set the tone and get people committed to the journey.

Hold each other accountable

Finally, it is key to understand the role that each member needs to play and be responsible in playing it well. Imagine a football team with all strikers, who is going to defend against the opponent? Who will be the one guarding the goal? You get the drift.

As much as all superstars want to shine, some will have to sacrifice part of their game and adjust into the team role. This doesn’t mean that it has to be a permanent sacrifice because things are dynamic. But by being aware of what role you are playing, it prevents unnecessary overlaps which can be disruptive while ensuring that the individual is able to focus on one area and do it well. Thereafter, it’s about creating ownership and accountability with individuals in their respective roles.

Closing thoughts

Super teams are great, but there is much more to just having the right talents on the team. It takes a great amount of effort to get them together and perform at the level that they are supposed to. Sometimes, super teams do not necessarily mean having all superstars but rather, a team filled with great people with complementary skills that can deliver super quality as a team.

Find your right talent, build a great team and all the best on this your journey!

People Mentality Inc is a HR and Employer Branding Consultant in Singapore. Our clients include Pfizer, Great Eastern, Accenture, DHL, Samsung, Coca Cola, Keppel, Loreal, Under Armour and more. We netted the HR Rising Star 2016 award and APAC Top 10 HR & Employer Branding Consultant 2020.

3 thoughts on “Why do some super teams flourish while others don’t?

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