Tony DeMeo

Pragmatic Team Dynamics

No coach has a greater challenge in building a team than a football coach. The sheer numbers alone make it a tremendous challenge but there is also the entitlement culture that is pervasive in today’s society and the internet experts that tear at the value of team. ESPN adds to the breaking down of a Team culture with their fawning over selfish, look at me guys. Lawrence Fine has put together a great little book on addressing these issues. It’s a quick read and provides insight into the dynamics of a team. I found this book to be extremely helpful to me and strongly recommend it to anyone in the leadership or coaching business. Another complimentary book I would recommend by Coach Fine is Team Building For the Reluctant Executive.

Lawrence Fine has been a very successful soccer coach and has been a great source of ideas for me in areas of team building and leadership.
He has also been a valuable consultant for many of the businesses in
the Charleston area.

10-80-10 Principle – Leadership…good and bad

The 10-80-10 Principle is based on the well known Pareto Principle (better known as the 80-20 rule).

The Pareto Principle can be summarized as 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work, 20 percent of buyers purchase 80 percent of the product, 20 percent of the land produces 80 percent of the food, etc.

The 10-80-10 Principle takes this concept and applies it to leadership. The concept is one which can be understood easily but which takes a great deal of understanding and patience to apply into a team setting.

The basic concept is 80% of people in any given group are followers. 10% are positive leaders and 10% are negative leaders. Too often people forget about the negative leaders as we perceive leaders all be
positive people.

When looking at a given group or team, we need to figure out who the positive leaders are, who the negative leaders are and finally, who the followers are. The next step is to do everything you can to make sure the followers are following the positive leaders and not the negative ones.

As you are working to make sure the followers are following the positive leaders you also want to make sure the negative leaders are isolated and then work on transitioning them. The reason it’s so important
to try to transition them is one of the biggest complaints we here about today’s youth is a shortage of leaders. There is a good reason for this shortage. Many organizations and teams will try to quickly get rid of these negative leaders and they turn right around and complain about a shortage of leaders. Of course there is a shortage, we get rid of half of them!

The key to remember is it’s extremely difficult to transition a negative leader into the role of follower. They are a leader for a reason so it’s actually easier to transition a negative leader into a positive leader than into a follower.

Take a hard look at your negative leaders and try to determine what makes them a negative leader. Is it a need for attention? Do they not understand something so for fear of sounding “dumb” do they turn things into a joke? Are they lacking in one of the requisite “D’s” (desire, discipline, dedication, determination)? If you can transition some of your negative leaders into positive leaders you will take a big step in the advancement of your team.

To learn more, please check out the book Pragmatic Team Dynamics at