Lionel Messi Exemplifies Strengths-based Teamwork for Argentina

Today’s WSJ: Messi “Idle” 90% of the Time. What Gives?

You might assume that Argentina’s Lionel Messi, one of the best football scorers in the world, has one of the highest “activity” rates of any player on the field–chasing down every pass and stray ball. However, there is more than meets the eye to Messi’s success.

A study by The Journal of Human Kinetics classified how much each player ran at certain speeds in the 2010 World Cup: low, medium and high. For comparison, goalkeepers averaged between 96% and 99% in “low” activity. Messi is currently tied with two other players for top scorer in this year’s World Cup, yet he spends 90% of his time on the field in “low activity” mode!

At first, this seems totally confounding. How is this possible? What does Messi know about performance that we don’t?

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Do you behave dictatorially or collaboratively? Give advice or enable others to discover? Exert expertise or treat everyone as equals?

While effective coaching from managers increases employee engagement and commitment, coaching others does not always come naturally.

Improved collaborative listening skills and balancing advice versus discovering solutions together benefit employee engagement and the overall health of the organization.

Wise words from two of the world’s leadership development experts.

Finding the Balance Between Coaching and Managing – Jack Zenger, and Joseph Folkman – Harvard Business Review.