Brazil fans were agonizing over the loss of Neymar in the FIFA World Cup 2014 semi finals match, with 1-7 in favor of Germany, but it is clear that Thiago Silva’s absence was even greater, as pronounced by fans, media, sports analysts, and even the Brazilian Team themselves. The centre-back and captain was forced to miss the semi-final after picking up a second yellow card against Colombia in the previous contest. Unfortunate as it seems, it was clear that there was a big drop-off for Brazil without their most experienced star players.
In the first 10 minutes of the semi-finals, Brazil piled on the pressure against Germany. But what followed thereafter shocked the world. (It merits watching the replay, trust me.)
The used to be confident, well-performing, cheer-gathering, praise-eliciting team suddenly collapsed, together with their hopes and dreams of becoming the champion. Worse than that is when you are defeated and you are the host country.
While watching the game, I was reminded of the importance of not building the team on the star players. Yes, leaders are important, but if leaders are the only players of the team, It’s easy to destroy it, just by simply destroying one star player – the leader.
The team should never be a one-man show.
Because what matters most in a team is the collective progress and not just the one who “scores”, every team should not depend on a single player. If we focus on who is scoring in a team, the person will become famous, and the natural tendency is for people to look to him and depend on what he can do for the team, failing to build the other players. Time will come, the “star player” might not be able to perform and that’s when the team collapses.
Even in the ministry, there is the temptation to build on a person’s name, reputation, gifting or legacy. I’ve heard of stories of discipleship groups, volunteer ministries, even churches, who invest and build the ministry in the name of the star player. And when opportunities of the star player’s absence come, the team suffers. The worst thing for a team to experience is not to be able to move forward just because of its dependence on few people’s “expertise”. On a side note, it is also a sign of insecurity for a leader to build the team on what he/she can do alone. A leader who cannot delegate, empower and trust other members simply is an insecure leader.
This, surely, is not the main reason for their (Brazil’s) loss, but it is always a good check for us who are part of a team, especially if you are the leader.
Let us build each other in the team. Let us score together. Let us not be centered on the star player.