Cricket is much like life and leading a cricket team is not unlike managing one at the workplace. It’s only apt that we took some notes from our very own Captain Cool.
After he was named captain of the Indian cricket team during the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has led the team in more matches than we can remember. He is also India’s most successful captain after he eclipsed Sourav Ganguly’s record of 21 victories from 49 Tests. Over the years, Dhoni’s style of captaincy has inspired a lot of management gurus. After all isn’t cricket just another metaphor for life?
1. Lead from the front
Dhoni has always been featured among the top batsmen in ODIs. He’s known to finish games—he did give us our iconic postcard moment with that final sixer at the 2011 World Cup—and lead by example. And that is exactly what a leader should do. Leading by example is the best way you can lead. It helps your teammates get inspired to match your standards and perform better than usual.
2. Stay calm under pressure
There is a reason why they call him Captain Cool. It doesn’t matter how intimidating the target is or how strong the opposition is, rarely will you see Dhoni lose his cool. As a manager, staying calm is crucial. It doesn’t help if the leader keeps blowing his/her lid every time the pressure builds up. Instead of losing your cool, learn to play your team’s strengths and go for the kill.
3. Learn to manage egos
When he was made captain Dhoni had superseded a lot of players in the team, including former captains such as Ganguly and Tendulkar. Instead of interfering with their methods, Dhoni let these star players play their game and managed to extract the best out of them without hurting egos. So learn to use your teammates’ strengths to not just your own advantage but also the advantage of the team.
4. Don’t let success go to your head
It is easy to get swayed when you get success and money at an early age. Dhoni who was still in his 20s when he became captain, didn’t let his elevation change his strategy. His feet were firmly on the ground and his head on his shoulders. As leaders, it is important to not let your position and power get the better of you. A brash attitude can often lead to early career burnouts. There is perhaps no better example of this in the Indian public sphere than MS Dhoni.
5. Think out of the box
When it comes to unconventional decisions, no one comes close to Dhoni. In the match against Bangladesh during the recent T20 World Cup, Dhoni kept wickets with just one glove off the last ball. He chose to run to the stumps rather than throw the ball. This crucial decision didn’t just help India win by one run but also managed to keep them in the race. Being able to think out of the box is one of the most crucial qualities of a team leader. All the data, all the conventional wisdom aside, working out a unique strategy can often make all the difference.