LEADERSHIP LESSONS: FROM THE NEPALI CRICKET TEAM
Nepal became the third team to qualify for the 2014 ICC World T20 after Afghanistan and Ireland. We will now compete in round one of the T20 World Cup. Two teams from round one will then enter super 10 and compete against the top eight cricketing giants. This is Nepal’s first global event since the inception of its 17-years long international cricket journey.
Every time the Nepalese Cricket Team walks out onto the cricket field, this sports frenzy nation screams and unites together. T20 cricket is usually chaotic and unpredictable but when our players enter the field, they transform chaos into opportunities. Consider the big-run chase against Kenya when we needed 17 runs off the final over or the frantic final over against Hong-Kong when we required 13 runs to qualify for the World Cup, we have successfully converted our chances into victory.
When we caught up with Coach Pubudu Dassanayake during the 5th Issue of TNM, he had exemplified his passion for getting us through the World T20 qualifiers. Together with Paras & boys, he set out on a mission previously thought to be impossible with limited resources. Hence, a victorious team emerged- shaped and moulded in adversity. Here, we list out six specific leadership traits from Team Nepal which if applied in real-life situation can help us to outcome adversity and failure.
Our team can brilliantly handle the pressure of performance and opponents. They know how to stay cool and composed. Even in difficult match-conditions, we stayed calm and maintained our composure letting our on-field performance do the talking. During the qualifiers, when the match went to a last over finish, none of our batsmen lost their cool. Had Sharad ruffled against the match with Hong-Kong, our World Cup dreams would have sunken right away. Irrespective of pressure, he played a winning knock and took us to the World Cup. The same can be said about Paras Khadka who knows loosing temperament during the game can cause great errors. Seeing a calm captain will not rattle the other team-members. He is a perfect example to all our leaders and managers regarding how to handle stress without losing your head.
This is perhaps one of the most important lessons that we can apply in our daily-life. It’s natural to feel pressure but we shouldn’t panic and let things go out of our hand. Everyone should have the ability to handle stress without losing composure because nothing is impossible. As a leader, be calm in difficult circumstances. When team-members and colleagues see their leader calm, they will be motivated to focus on their work.
BELIEVE IN TEAM-WORK:
In cricket, just like other sports, it is common that players have a quest for ego-driven glory. ‘Batsmen win matches, Bowlers win tournaments’ is just an old cliché. Everyone has a role to play. It really doesn’t matter what kind of team it is because its characteristics is easily transformable. Coach Pubudu has installed the importance of team-work in everyone’s minds. Both the coach and captain have removed the fear of failure from the minds of these players. To win matches, you need the cumulative effort of everyone from players and support staffs to medias and fans.
Likewise, a good team work is vital to the success of any organization, no matter whether it is a cricket team or a business house. Winning is the synergy of team-work. Sometimes teams constructed of the best individuals may look good on paper but not necessarily perform. So, you have to pick the right team and trust them 100%.
UTILIZE THE AVAILABLE RESOURCES:
We lack proper cricket infrastructures and financial backing. The fans are aware of the turbulent government spending in the cricketing sector. But, the dedication of our players for the love of this sport is not short. To qualify for the World T20 qualifiers, we had no option but to capitalize on the available minimal opportunities. This team when to Delhi for preparation and emerged victorious against Under-25 sides from Railways and Delhi District Cricket Association. Irrespective of the resources, our players toiled hard to achieve success.
The lesson to derive here is to work hard with character and utilize even the smallest of available resources. Do not wait for others to preach for you because preaching is for people who have a lot of time and whose eyes are off their goals.
Perception plays a pivotal role in the psychology of players in a country like ours. Contrary to the earlier matches, no matter how big the total may seem, the team is now always focused on winning. Six months ago when we went to India, we were thrashed by average teams. This time when we were there, we focused on the task at hand and won matches. No complaining and no distractions, just the will to achieve and the will to win no matter what.
Most people get intimidated when they are met with a series of failures and decide to quit. Remember, there are no shortcuts for success. If you want a long-term success, you should start working now by making yourself aware of all the challenges that may come.
SUPPORT YOUR PLAYERS:
Coach Pubudu and Captain Paras have worked on the principle that talent gets noticed and picked up. They have placed immense trust on their players and back them to deliver because they know a good support will encourage them to be a better performer and set better standards. The once-dropped Sarad Veswakar is now a national hero. Jitendra Mukhiya, the player who wasn’t even selected for the earlier U-19 squad, now has an important place in the senior team. Similarly, the introduction of bowler Sompal Kami in the ICC World Cup qualifiers squad will help to strengthen our much needed pace-attack. The coach even introduced a regular physiotherapist and computer analyst for the team. Steps like these allow the players to feel a sense of responsibility for the national team.
So, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and choose the team-members who can excel. You need to work with your strengths to achieve. When it comes to performance, a genuine talent will always defy the expectations and predictions of the spectators and critiques.
LEAD FROM THE FRONT:
When it comes to leading, Paras Khadka is humble but very organized and focused. He is never shy of motivating the team regardless of the results. He has always delivered whenever it mattered the most. There have been many occasions when he has held the innings together for the team. By doing so, he has earned not only the respect of his teammates but the fans as well. Not only did he ignite the team-spirit but also passion in the whole nation. His ability to lead the team with discipline is second to none. He knows exactly where he wants to go, he knows exactly how he’ll get there and that’s all he’s bothered about. Probably that is the most important reason why people admire him so much.
In a corporate world, leaders should have the ability to lead from the front and by example like Paras. They should make everyone on the team believe that all are equal. A leader earns the respect of his teammates only when he himself is doing well. In case of failure, a leader should encourage his sub-ordinates to do it right next time. They should be an astute thinker and strategist.
Just like cricket, the importance of team-work, training and hard-work is also important in managing business. Sport and business both ignite passion in the players/ team-members, support staff/ employees and fans/customers cultivating a benchmark of commitment, loyalty and inspiration. Managers and other individuals can learn a lot from our team and then apply it to real world situations.
As Theodore Roosevelt said– “It’s not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with the sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause and who, at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat” , TNM salutes the Nepali Cricket Team for qualifying for the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh.