Lewis Hamilton: Teamwork's the Winning Formula

Last Updated Nov 6, 2008 2:01 PM EST

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It may be Lewis Hamilton who's in the limelight, but he attributes his success to the efforts of everyone at McLaren. The youngest ever Formula One world champion, Hamilton's low-key style of managing relationships offers a useful guide to anyone who is part of team.

"You only see a handful [of people] on race weekends or test weeks, but when you go back to the factory, you see them all working on different components -- and you've got to rely on all those people doing their job perfectly," Hamilton tells Management Today.

His teamwork tips to MT?

Communication. This is essential to ensuring everything runs smoothly on the track, but that doesn't mean giving people "a kick in the arse". It's more a case of providing honest feedback on what works, where there are limitations and what needs to be fixed in order to win the next race.

Friendship and respect. Hamilton's very close to the McLaren team -- "they're like family to me". This makes it easier to develop close working relationships.

Flexibility. The team evolves rapidly and continuously. "Things are changing all the time -- each race there are new wings, new tyres...". Everyone has to fulfil their role to ensure that there's no hitch in the production and that means being flexible and willing to go back to the drawing board.

Confidence. When he started at 21, (he's now 23), Hamilton lacked experience and confidence. "Now I can say, 'this is not working' -- and that's it, there are no questions or doubts about it."

Learn2Develop also identifies some leadership traits that make Hamilton stand out:

Team spirit. He talks about 'we' not 'I' when he refers to successes.

Willingness to admit his own mistakes and to learn from them.

Mindset, especially in the face of personal attacks. "At no point was this more obvious than when he overtook the Toyota on the final lap in Brazil to win the title -- nerves of steel and resolute belief."

(Photo: 3ug3n3, CC2.0)