This post is a part of a series of my reflections from Nike’s We Run Jozi 10K 2012. Subscribe by email or RSS not to miss new posts. You can also check out the previous posts in the series here.

I entered and ran We Run Jozi 10K as an individual. I exchanged introductions when at the start line with a few people and this made apparent that a substantial number of the people were going to run in teams. “Many hands make work light,” the adage says. This proved true and in some instances not so true during the race.

Part of the people who made up the crowd were people who stopped at the most annoying and inconvenient places of the race to take pictures of each other. In some teams I noticed there was a “guardian of pace“.

A team player but also a leader in relation to an aspect of the team’s performance in the race. Some kept time, and others were encouragers. Others collected water for themselves and their team. In numerous teams there was a visible commitment to each other.

All these functions carried out by individuals make up team functions. The focus to help each other cross the finish line cements the definition of a team.

reflections on team from we run jozi 10k 2012

team is an enabler for individuals within them. however, leadership must be sensitive to how they need to enable those in the team in varied contexts


Before I go on I will start with some reminders pertinent to leadership and teamwork. (Sometimes we need the reminders). First, being part of a team enables you to do things you are not able to alone.

There is an exponential increase in your abilities when you tap into abilities of those around you. Thinking you can do everything well on your own is self-destructive folly.

Engaging a team allows you to be in many places in one go as well as execute numerous functions simultaneously. A healthy ego is necessary for working with a leading a team.

Insecure leaders tend overcompensate for their shortcomings by an inflated their ego.

Secure leaders on the other hand, are comfortable in leading people who are smarter than them. The leader’s responsibility is not to be the smartest guy but to lead. Leaders must be willing to their team as they journey, otherwise they might as well do it alone.


Second, is probably the most profound I had on the subject. The same way a team can empower you for greater, it can cripple you. Team is necessary, but not always. The team must be there for each other.

They must help each other grow without getting in each other’s way. A challenge. I noticed numerous teams do their best and start to fizzle before the finish line. In the midst of that I saw some teams had individuals that could maintain a faster pace. There are times teams must release the one to perform.

As a leader you must constantly assess the impact the team is having on the individuals in your team. Is the team still enabling or now inhibiting potential of its members? At some point, a leader must say to some of those he leads, “go”.

In instances where a team has taken individuals as far as they can, the best enablement for their colleague is to release them.

Great leaders practice releasing individuals for their best. Leadership is not only about what you can get people to achieve collectively but enabling others as individuals.

Releasing some of your team is a part of leadership that is often neglected. Not releasing some members of your team can be highly toxic for both them and your team over time.

Leader, it is easy to get caught up in ensuring that your team delivers at the expense of some of the individuals in your team. Are there any individuals you need to release for their greater potential to be realized?

Are you encouraging some team members to explore other avenues in your team that the rest may not have potential or insight for? Is your team still enabling or is it now inhibiting greater performance for some?

Your thoughts?

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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