Sourav Ganguly's Leadership Mantra For CXOs

by Sohini Bagchi    Oct 28, 2015


There are a lot of things business and IT executives can learn from a sport like cricket that allows players to thrive in a team. The conversation around cricket and business can become even more interesting when the speaker is cricket icon Sourav Ganguly. At a mega tech event organized in Mumbai by VMware, on the theme, ‘Ready For Any…’, Ganguly, one of the most successful captains of the Indian Cricket team, throws light on leadership and team management.

Sporting a warm smile, he mentions to the audience how cricket has taught him to become a team player, accept success and failure as they come and be prepared for just about anything. Excerpt.

Identify the right talent

“For any leader, the biggest challenge is to identify the right talent. One has to be very clear about the kind of team he wants. He should analyze the candidates carefully before bringing the candidates on-board. Once taken, he needs to give them the opportunity to prove their talent,” Ganguly says adding that the rule in cricket applies to any business, even in the corporate world.

“As a captain, I gave young players an opportunity to showcase their talent in at least first ten matches. It eases the pressure and the potential candidate is able to play in his pace,” says Ganguly, adding that one has to be very fair and just while making selections. There are also times, he believes a leader has to take chances.

Give your team the ‘chance’ to perform

It is necessary to give your team the atmosphere to perform. If people are comfortable with each other, if they can sort out small conflicts among themselves and if they trust each other, they will certainly put their efforts in one direction, believes Ganguly.

Ganguly notes that a problem that most of the teams face is the resistance of seniors in the team against new members. “When I became the captain of Indian cricket team, I was lucky to have senior players such as Tendulkar, Dravid, VVS Laxman, who not only welcomed the entry of younger players, but also went out of their way to groom and support them - that’s how it should be in business as well.

Every team should have the right ratio of young and senior or experienced members. The more experienced ones are the best people to guide and help their juniors. The team leader should ensure that it happens. By giving the talent the right opportunity to deliver will only bring success,” says a confident Ganguly.

Every team member is different, let it be…

Every team is different and every team member has different strengths and weaknesses, believes Ganguly. “When I became the captain of the Indian cricket team we had some really talented players on board, like Kumble, Tendulkar, Dravid and many such players who had the right talent to win matches. However, I often wondered why we were still not up to mark always. It took me some time to realize that every player is different and needs to be channelized towards the right direction. This is what team performance is about, says Ganguly with a smile. “I have realised that the rules are different for everyone. One has to understand his team members to get the best out of them in every situation,” he concludes.