Learning from the commentator
With the World Cup 2018 now well and truly kicked off in Russia those of us who are followers of the ‘beautiful game’ will be witness to all manner of examples of teamwork – the bad, the good and hopefully the truly stellar where team spirit can be seen to flow at an almost spiritual level. This level of understanding and connection is something to be aspired to by all teams, wherever they operate.
The World Cup will also showcase something else that needs to be on our radar as leaders and that’s the skill of the television commentator and the value of his or her commentary.
The best of these adds greatly to the viewer’s experience, involving them not by orating every detail but knowing what to describe and what not to. By explaining the tactical nuances that are less obvious. By setting the performance in the broader context of performance over time and what that might mean for the future. By sharing some of the human stories from the players in the drama. By reflecting the excitement or disappointment or anxiety of all those present. Despite viewing the event through a ‘window’ the best commentary can help us feel truly involved.
How does this relate to leadership in organisations? Well often, however good our leadership, we’re undermining it through our lack of ‘commentary’. Often when we’ve hit on a solution, arrived at a decision, can see what needs to happen next we assume that everyone else will be there with us, understanding the why, how and what and raring to play their part.
Very often they’re not because the narrative that’s running – the processing, the working out, the analysis and reasoning – is only going on in our heads.
I think we have much to learn from the best of TV commentary…it’s not about splurging every detail but about giving context to what people can see for themselves, sharing our process and our version of the ‘tactical nuances’, bringing it to life by making it personal/making it matter to others, reflecting how we feel about it. Involving people in the whole picture, not just the very edited highlights.
Bringing people with us takes time and care and getting beyond the assumption that others can read our mind.