Team Management: How to learn from “The Last Dance”

Team Management with Strengths

What do the Chicago Bulls all-stars and effective team management have in common? 

They’re both powered by a combination of strengths, resulting in higher productivity and outstanding performance. 

Every player—including basketball legend, Michael Jordan—possessed unique strengths that complimented the team as a whole, leading them to conquer the NBA throne for three consecutive years, twice. 

However, strength-based team management extends beyond sports. 

Forward-thinking workforce managers are recognizing the merits of combining key strengths to assemble high performing teams of all-stars in the business world. 

Are you one of them?

Play to win: Bolster your employee management tactics

Research by Gallup shows that when employees know and use their strengths, they are 6X more engaged, delivering outstanding performance—a proven fact with the Chicago Bulls. 

They perform better, produce more, learn their roles quicker and more positively affect their organization’s profits. 

The bottom line? 

Teaming great strengths together acts as a force multiplier, likely to drive at least 12.5% greater productivity.

Take the Bulls for example.

The players don’t just practice plays; they practice effective teamwork—a huge part of their success story. 

Bringing people with different skills and perspectives together almost always produces more output than the sum of those individuals acting alone. 

After all, two heads are almost always better than one. Level up your team management strategies by identifying the strengths that you want in your team of all-stars.

*The following section uses some of the 34 CliftonStrenghts Themes as depicted by Gallup. To understand more about these strengths, please check them out in our article on how to discover the career path based on your strength.

Star talent is key in high-performance team management

As depicted in Netflix’s The Last Dance, star talent Michael Jordan is the epitome of an Achiever

Equipped with a drive to excel and constant desire for attainment, an Achiever is a jolt you can always count on to set the pace in the game. 

But your star talent doesn’t always need to be decked out in Air Jordans. 

Tips: When developing your team management strategy, think about teaming up an Achiever with one whose strength is Command—the ability to take control of a situation and make decisions, especially in times of crisis. In the example of the Chicago Bulls, Scottie Pippen is the Command type. He often takes control of the situation. Focusing on where needed and proving to be a critical asset to the team. 

Effective team management strategy: Play your wild card—wisely 

One of the best rebounders in NBA history, Dennis Rodman challenged the status quo with his controversial antics and unpredictability on the court. 

Clearly possessed the strength of an Activator, he used to watch teammates warm up to see from where on the court they were missing shots (from the right, left or centre of the basket). 

That way, the Chicago Bulls power forward knew where to stand to increase the chances of grabbing a rebound. When it comes to focusing, the best players are always concentrating on the game by looking ahead.

Tips: When planning and managing your team effectively, combining an Activator alongside an Achiever and Command could prove valuable. 

Fearless in turning thoughts into action, an Activator would often see things from a different perspective, and challenge assumptions made by the others—all in the pursuit to achieve organizational goals.

Go on the defence for strategic team management

Perhaps the biggest factor limiting the deployment of all-star teams is the belief that “egos will get in the way of team effectiveness.” 

However, the best companies don’t give up on forming all-star teams. 

The primary vehicle for managing individual egos is to make team success essential for individual success. 

When the so-called “Dream Team” took home the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, the egos of NBA all-star team members were kept in check by the fact that no one team member could take home the gold unless the entire team was successful. 

This allowed bitter rivals to compete together victoriously as a team. 

Tips: Use similar mechanisms to keep your team members’ egos in check. Assess the combined strengths in your team management and planning. 

For example, too many Activators in a single team may not result in effective team dynamics. Consider the strengths of each team member and how these can complement, not overtake, the team.

Leading the team by strength-based, a norm today

Building your extraordinary teams on strengths offer the potential for exceptional productivity and performance. 

The best workforce managers take a far more disciplined and rigorous approach—particularly with respect to teaming their very best talents. 

They aren’t afraid to assemble all-star teams to tackle mission-critical initiatives and reap the rewards in the long run.

Are you ready to join the ranks of the forward-thinking workforce managers? Get started today. Use strengths to plan your high-performance team management today.

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Amos Tay

Amos Tay

Amos Tay is the Senior Partner of Hatch Asia. He is a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrength Coach and lead our executive search, coaching and expand our partnership development across the region.

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