Just leading from the front is not good enough, teaches Captain Kohli’s English fortune

There is a lesson for corporate leaders in India's performance in England, which is a reflection of its leader's approach to the team

The first four days of August were exciting and surprising for Indian cricket fans, as India tour England for a five-test match series. No one expected such a courageous start to the series by the Indian captain Virat Kohli. The past experiences of India’s English tours have always been disappointing, wherein the team always started kicking back with performances towards the latter part of the tour – whether it was under Mohammed Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid or M S Dhoni. But, King Kohli is determined to change this perception and ready to write a new history with his performances.

Is it just sheer luck or a well-planned strategy which resulted in an inspiring performance from the captain in the first Test? No one ever thought that one single change in the itinerary could bring this kind of transformation.

This year the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) swapped the schedule of Test matches with One-dayers, which helped the team to acclimatise in the English conditions and be well prepared for the tough Tests.

But, strategy can win laurels if it is implemented well with the desired outcome in the field. First Test match showed that there was only one Indian batsman who actually took the strategic advantage and learned something out of the conditions and it was King Kohli.

India scored a total of 436 runs in both innings, out of which King Kohli scored 200 runs with a contribution of almost 46 per cent runs in the overall total. In both the innings, he was the highest scorer from our side. India’s first innings had 55 per cent of contribution from Captain Kohli in the innings’ total; though having Kohli’s tremendous contribution and setting an example for his teammates, India still lost the match by 31 runs.

Failure of the leader

Why did India lose? Which trick did he miss as a captain of the team? Why did others fail to get inspired by his performance? Why was King Kohli leading from the front not enough for the team? The answers to these questions contain a lesson or two for the leader in the entrepreneur.

Many times CEOs unleashes their true potentials and achieve tremendous personal feats with their passion and hunger to win, but still are unable to cross the finishing line as a team. Why do they fail? Why does positivity of their performance not get trickled down in the system?

India’s recent loss has shown how critical it is to push your team to work as a cohesive unit supported by individual performances. Indian team is full of big names of aggressive players, still they failed to win as a unit. Not even a single batsman could raise his performance bar. Had it not been for the stupendous performance of the Indian captain, India would have lost by a huge margin.

Though King Kohli tick-marked some of the critical activities in his leadership role and deserves a lot of praises and appreciation as a player for that, he failed to act as a winning CEO of his corporate (Indian cricket team). Take Kohli’s performance in a corporate world scenario where the CEO contributes 45 per cent annually to the overall growth of the company. Though it is great to have such inspiring performances, it is still not good enough for the team to cross the finishing line.

With rising business competition, customer expectations, new technology and many other developments, it has become imperative for CEOs to build a cohesive unit with passion, aggression and hunger to win while focussing on personal milestones.

Critical winning combination

A team, be it in sports or the corporate world, needs to gel as a cohesive unit. The unity it should carry is based on the following components:

  • Demonstrate: Leadership is a matter of having your people look at you and gain confidence.  If you are in control, they are in control. It is important to lead from the front and show them how to do it.
  • One Mission: Teams need to understand what their common business mission/goals are and these goals need to supersede individual goals. Like in sports, if the team understands that a common goal is to win the championship, then it will be easier for all team members to focus and concentrate on the team goal. If one or more team members are focused on individual goals, such as winning the scoring title, the performance of the entire team can be negatively affected.
  • Action Plan: Another key element for a winning team is a strong action plan that is spelt out in clear and unambiguous terms to all members of the team. While the common goals identify what the CEO and the organisation want to do, the action plan identifies how the goals will be achieved by the whole team.
  • Support risk-taking: Business is all about risk and reward. To make the business grow, a leader must be willing to support prudent risk-taking by the team. If the CEO does not allow risk-taking, the business will lag behind market leaders.
  • Inclusion and involvement: The art of inclusion is driven by communication to all members of the team. By providing 100 per cent inclusion, CEOs can then require 100 per cent involvement as an expectation of the organisation’s culture. They are here to achieve everything, which pushes them individually to perform better. Everyone has a specific role in the team and the CEO is responsible to guide, push, inspire and help every individual to achieve its goal.

Whether it is a winning strategy or an effort in a losing cause, it depends on the attitude of every player/employee and their acceptance level towards their roles.

As overseas tours are tough and demanding, every job demands not only hard work but also presents a variety of other challenges. But, it is important to use this as an opportunity to grow and learn, which will help in improving the performance and reputation as well.

Arrogance and “I know it all” attitude stagnate the growth of an individual as a leader. The current Indian team has tremendous talent which can conquer the world if they work as a cohesive unit. King Kohli is determined to kill with the roar of a lion. It is time the team too realises its strength as a collective of individuals and behaves like an army unit.

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  1. A leader is not only for leading from the front , he has to be an all rounder and Kohli proves to be one of the great leaders in the Indian Cricket team history.

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  1. A leader is not only for leading from the front , he has to be an all rounder and Kohli proves to be one of the great leaders in the Indian Cricket team history.