Indians are not good as team players?!

Posted: March 28, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I have expressed my love for the Mint newspaper, often. Especially the Mint on Saturdays. But one author whom I did not like much thus far, was Aakar Patel. In the past, I have seen too much of “secularism” weave in his columns, and that put me off.

But his column on this Saturday was a revelation. He makes a convincing statement that Indians are too self obsessed to be really good team players. He gives many examples from sports to make the point.

About how, after playing footall for 100 years, we are nowhere in the picture. About how, in hockey, once the world figured out how to stop our star players (e.g. Dhyan Chand) with their team play, we never managed to make a serious mark. And also why cricket cannot be clubbed into this – because, in spite of being a team sport, it boils down to an individual one-on-one, between the batsman and the bowler. And which is why, we have great individual players like Sachin and Gavasakar, but we are still weak as a team when it comes to fitness, fielding and the like.

The extension that Aakar points out, specifically for cricket, about how players have honed their personal skills, but have not thought as much about the sport, and how to improve it as a whole, is disturbing. But then when he points out the fact that nearly ALL of the IPL teams have foreign coache, and that how Indian commentators can only talk of individual technique, but can rarely give interesting thoughts on game strategy, again tells an important tale!

The summary of the article is that we do not value harmony, but only value genius, that we’d be more happy getting to see a Sachin 100, than an Indian victory! Sad, but true.

The article goes ahead and tries to find a reason for this, but which I do not agree upon. We have to recognise that sometimes we may NOT have answers, and then we look for these.

How does the attitude reflect in work, beyond sports? Team work demands that the focus be on end goal, and each must complement the other. How often do we see this NOT happening in companies?? Star performers in large companies? Partners pulling company in different directions in smaller companies?!

It is a refreshing change then, to find exceptions today, which are goal focused, and where partners / senior executives are not concerned about personal victories, as much as they are confirmed with large goals of the organization.

Focus on harmony, beyond just the genius..

  1. In my opinion.. These are a few examples… There are examples which you mentioned are right, be it in sport or somewhere else… But we have been that way from the time of pre-Independence and our diversity has that effect to a certain extent, however in the last decade our country has grown into many changes… yes certain sports still lack the team effort… but not because they are not good team players and only individuals get importance…but because of the grass root system… as a country… we have shown great examples of team effort that no country has shown. It took one Nelson Mandela to untie a nation, however we had a list of freedom fighters who teamed up… take examples from… Indians working in communities abroad…we are yes focused as individuals…yet we do make sure that we are part of our community.. take the 26th July instance for that matter… there was a team, 26/11 there was a team… yes short lived…whatever the case maybe..we do stand up.. there is a lot of scope for team effort true..but it’s not that we are bad team players!!! It’s generic and the goods and the bads are similar worldwide.. except in our case… certain values need to be more incorporated…like the scene in ‘Chak De’ I’m …. I play for India! Rather one picked from ‘Miracle’ 🙂

    • Sanjay Mehta says:

      Interesting thought, Srinivas.
      I still have my questions on the subject. I think there was in fact, total lack of coordination in 26/11. We do not have a mechanism of how the army, the police, the NSG, the political leadership etc. will work together. Team work would be that. To get together, strategically, sacrifice personal heroics, and yet get to the objective.

      In any case, armed forces are a different breed. But ordinary citizens, I am not sure, if culturally, we are at all tuned to be really good team players. I think Aakar Patel makes some interesting points here.

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