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Recently I was reading about the Miracle on Ice when the US Men’s Hockey Team beat the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics.  What I learned about this team was that the coach, Herb Brooks had to change his entire coaching philosophy in order to get a group of college rivals come together and work as a team.  So, he made a deliberate decision to change his coaching style from an easy going guy to a “drill sergeant.” He was harsh, unyielding and ruthless, i.e. making them practice in the middle of the night.  His objective was to get them to rally together due to their common hatred of their coach.  And it worked.

I started to think about how a different leadership style can have an impact on a team.  I think most managers are comfortable with situational leadership, where you adjust your leadership approach to meet the development level of an employee. But, few managers adapt their style in order to have an effect on the output of the team.

How might a change impact the performance of your team?  If you sense your team is a bit complacent, perhaps a more direct approach might help improve the performance.  Or if you sense a lot of tension among the team members, maybe a more approachable style will make team members more comfortable bringing up issues and asking for your help in resolving them.

If you do decide to make a change, make sure the reason for the change is clear in your mind along with the desired outcome. And changing things up needs to be consistent – your team will be confused if you are a drill sergeant one day and team psychologist the next day.

Who says change has to be a bad thing?  If you can improve the output of your team, it may be worth the extra effort.

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