More about how leadership science can build winning teams

In this podcast, Tougher Minds Founder Dr. Jon Finn explains more about leadership science and outlines how it can create winning teams – in business and in sport.

This understanding will help businesses, people and teams make a successful transition back to new ways of working – in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Jon also explains how every member of a team can have an influence on its performance and success – not just the leaders.

You can listen to this Tougher Minds podcast on your platform of choice. Subscribe for instant access to the latest episode.

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Podcast Transcription

Hi, this is Dr. Jon Finn and welcome to another Tougher Minds podcast. I’m out walking again. And I’m just reflecting on some of the discussions around the England v India Test cricket series that’s going on at the moment. You may be aware that England’s selection criteria is being analysed and in some quarters criticised because they’re rotating their players and having to manage what’s quite a challenging situation with players been in this bubble to obviously prevent COVID spreading, and then having to spend periods of time in quarantine, as they’re transitioning in and out of the bubble. 

And I think it’s really interesting discussion, because some of the criticism and let’s step back, actually, for one second, I think we all have to bear in mind that was maybe England’s goal in this in this particular Test series is a little bit different from other test areas in that, although they obviously want to prioritise winning the games, they’ve got to balance out with player welfare, and player wellbeing, that’s obviously very challenging. So I don’t really want to criticise any, anything that anybody’s doing. I just want to observe some of the discussions around what’s going on. And one thing that I think is really interesting is that England’s approach has been critiqued as being too scientific, from some quarters. And I can completely understand why people would say that, but actually, I think, in my opinion, and why not about science, if anything it’s not scientific enough. 

And what I mean by that is that I think people are observing England using data or information about player fitness levels, and you know, the age of players. And sometimes protecting players. From a fitness perspective, from a wellbeing perspective, but I don’t think that all scientific analysis is being used. The England team could go much further, and use what I would call leadership science, which is a combination of behavioural science, psychology, and neuroscience. And if we use that science, it would tell us that actually, what England are doing is disrupting their chances of winning Test matches. 

Sure, they’re completely completely aware that rotating players in our squad is making it more difficult for them to win games. But I don’t think that the commentary around these challenges is actually accepting that leadership and team dynamics is just as much of a science as the fitness side as the well being side is. So this thing is really interesting that still, we are not really understanding that leadership is a science, and that we can use scientific insights to actually help us to develop better leaders to be better leaders use scientific insights to help our teams to work more efficiently and effectively. 

And this is going to be absolutely crucial. If we want to make a really successful transition out of the COVID situation, and into – if we switch away from cricket now and professional sport – into people’s normal lives, which is probably going to be moving for a lot of people into a hybrid work situation, where they’re not anymore, going to be in the office every day, being face to face with their colleagues. And that’s really going to make it much more difficult for teams to function really well. So, in order to make the transition to this hybrid working situation, less challenging, we do need to harness leadership science. And first of all, we need to recognise that it is a science, and that we can use qualitative, quantitative sets of compelling data to actually inform our decisions about how we influence people’s behaviour, and also how we influence our own behaviour. And for me, that’s what leadership is about… it’s a two-sided coin. 

The first part of it is how well can I influence my own behaviour, and we can use science to do that. And the second part of that is what can I do to influence other people’s behaviour and we can of course use science to do that. And on the former, influencing our own behaviour, this is why we’ve created the Me Power resilience planner, because we know lots of people are struggling right now, twice a month. manage themselves. And they’re feeling overwhelmed and filled and tired and feeling a bit burned out. 

But what the Me Power resilience partner shows you and it’s absolutely free is that there are loads of tiny little things that we can do to make it easier for us to be our best more often. And the planner structures this on a daily and weekly basis; just giving you some really simple practical things that you can do that are based in really cutting edge science that make your life easier. And already people are reporting the benefits of using that tool which is really great.  You can access it, it’s absolutely free. Just go to our website, you’ll be able to download it there. 

So that’s just my quick reflection guys on a little piece of news that keeps reoccurring is that the England cricket teams approach is too scientific. And I don’t think that quite reflects what’s going on if we really, if we really want to talk about science in human behaviour, we have to accept leadership as a science. And therefore what they’re doing isn’t isn’t too scientific at all, arguably is not scientific enough. But the challenge is that guys that their job at the minute isn’t just the wind Test matches, it’s to look after player wellbeing. We’re going to keep pushing out very similar podcasts to this guy short, sharp insights that hopefully help you and your teams to be at your best more often. 

So if you want to get easy access to those, just subscribe to the podcast and you’ll be made aware as soon as the next one becomes available. Again, if you want to get access to the free planner, if you want to give your colleagues access, just visit the website and you’ll find it there. If you’ve got any questions, get in touch via the website and we will endeavour to answer those as quickly as we can. Thanks for listening and I’m looking forward to speaking to you again on the next podcast.


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