I used to play a lot of hockey. I learned so much captaining the team....how to motivate, how to put a team together, the power of recognition.
Interestingly we always voted at the end of the match for the player of the match. We were a successful team, reaching national finals and many promotions.
The interesting thing is that the couple of "star" players rarely won the player of the match award. You would have expected them to win week in week out as they were head and shoulders above the rest of the team. But do you know what....it was normally the player that had created the success.
Often it was the player who had sacrificed their game to man mark the oppositions star player, or the person who had switched positions and instead of complaining, tried even harder for the team and had a great game.
The message to me was that the team valued the people who created the success...not necessarily the star. The star got recognition constantly anyway.
A team excels when all people recognise the value of each other.....as a leader it is important to not just recognise the stars....but the people who allow the stars to shine.
I am retired from hockey now but was speaking to someone from the team the other day, she said the secret to our success was
"We laughed together, we tried together, we celebrated together, we grew together....but we always knew that we were better when we played for each other rather than against each other"
For all the training sessions, I think I learned more about leading on the hockey pitch than anywhere else :)