“If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… the A-Team.” – Opening monologue, The A-Team
Everyone remembers the last magnificently awesome team they were in. When you’re part of a team that delivers consistently and with breath-taking precision, you feel empowered, motivated – where every team lunch outing feels like everyone’s walking in unison, in slow-mo; and there’s an explosion in the background that’s being calmly ignored; and there are doves flying above in one beautifully choreographed direction. It’s just ridiculously glorious to be in an A-Team.
From a leadership position, to even have one team labelled ‘A’, is a rarity that’s akin to having Liam Neeson’s ‘Hannibal’-Smith-2010-A-Team at your beck and call. When there’s a crisis or ridiculously impossible task to be handled, you activate these specialists and BOOM – IT’S DONE. It’s the stuff corporate management fantasies are made of.
When you don’t have an A-Team or worse, never been part of one, organisational life sucks exponentially. A-Team-less leaders have no go-to fixer squad, which means you’ll have to do impossible missions yourself, with a lacklustre F-Team riding your coat-tails, which ultimately leads to multiple-mission failures. Repeat this long enough and it’s the end of your team, organisation and ultimately, self-worth. It’s also painfully obvious when you’re part of a team that sucks. Headless-chicken-panic moments become a daily occurrence and every mission is met with tearful moaning devoid of any enthusiasm.
So what makes a team good enough to earn the ‘A’ badge? Based on the actual A-Team composition, you’d probably be lulled into the impression that they’re just a rag-tag, motley crew of misfits that work well together. But you’d be so very wrong to underestimate these ‘underdogs’. To quote B.A. Baracus, “I pity the fool”:
Bosco Albert ‘B.A.’ Baracus
On the surface: The Muscle
A brute of a man whose main purpose is to be a battering ram. An enforcer of will, via rage and knuckles.
What he actually is: The Mechanist / Master of Mayhem
That’s right, B.A. is an incredible engineer. He can literally build anything – especially machines that can cause chaos and mayhem. From a dual-mounted, machinegun turrets on a van to a magnetised hijacking tool, B.A. brings the heat physically but more importantly – mechanically.
The team member you need: The Ballsy IT/Tech specialist
In this day and age, having the right IT or tech specialist could mean absolute success or abject organisational failure – if you don’t have the right talent and gumption for it. Make no mistake, IT and tech skills go beyond just knowing about computers – it’s about systemic and architectural intelligence and application – and most importantly, the courage to implement it.
H.M. ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock
On the surface: The Comic Relief
While it’s politically incorrect to laugh at a mentally unstable pilot (which in itself, is quite mentally destabilizing), Murdock brings the laughs, intended or otherwise.
What he actually is: Extraordinary pilot / Team Motivator
No matter how crazy the airborne mission is, Murdock will fly anything – plane, chopper, parasail – into the thick of the action, complete with insane punchlines to get the team in and out. All the while bringing good cheer and general insanity into the mix – which is why he’s so important. No matter how bad things look, Murdock brings a smile to everyone’s face. And that, takes real skill.
The team member you need: The Ever-Optimistic Project Manager
He’s the guy with not only a specific skillset that brings unique value to the team, but he’s ALWAYS positive. The combination of the two elements makes for team member who will rally for mission success – and that’s insanely good for everyone.
Templeton ‘Face’ Peck
On the surface: The Token Handsome Guy
Impeccably dressed, witty to a fault and always ready to make a deal, Face is the eye-candy of the team who knows it and works it to his advantage.
What he actually is: Supremely Resourceful Con Artist
If you need something for the mission – a boat, tank, a porta-loo – Face can get it faster, in higher quantities, better than anyone – and he can probably get it for free. Face is the classical, roguishly handsome con-artist who gets what the teams needs at any cost – as long as it doesn’t involve money.
The team member you need: The Super Negotiator / Procurement Specialist
A team with a super negotiator will clearly have an enormous advantage – mainly because skilled orators can seal deals that are seemingly win-win for all parties. Combine this skill with an ultra-techie and you have an unstoppable logistics division.
John ‘Hannibal’ Smith
On the surface: The Leader
The man with the plan, Hannibal is a gifted natural leader who is an inspiration to his team. He’s so respected as the alpha of the pack, that the team does not make a move until he tells them to.
What he actually is: The Field Commander / Master of Disguises
The secret to Hannibal’s success is that rare combination of strategist and tactician. He plans many steps ahead, often incorporating multiple plan-Bs and makes pragmatic on-ground decisions while the mission is in play. Add to that the ability to take on multiple personalities, and you have a very dangerous team lead.
The team member you need: A Leader with Strategic Vision and Tactical Mind-set
The leadership role is the pillar and keeps great teams afloat. There are many ways to be a great leader and many styles too, but if it were to replicate Hannibal’s success, then it’s all about demonstrating badassery in everything you do. From leading by example (he’s a field commander who’s on the ground leading the fray), to sharing a strategic vision (immediately gets the buy-in for every brilliant plan) and even demonstrating unique skillsets (Hannibal can disguise himself as your grandmother and you wouldn’t even know it) A-Team leadership MUST be in the hands of someone who can actually walk the talk and make the best out of a motley crew of misfits.
So where’s your A-Team?