How important is leadership to the success of your team? For MN Wild Hockey fans the answer to this question has become very clear in the last week.

From January – February 14 the MN Wild had only won 3 out of its last 19 hockey games and had lost 8 consecutive games. This type of performance was not what fans expected from a very talented group of players.

After their 8th loss in a row, General Manager Chuck Fletcher decided to make a leadership change by replacing the Head Coach. Since Coach John Torchetti took over the team they have won four straight games with the last game being a 6-1 victory over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks.

So how can this be explained? The exact same players, who had lost 8 straight, now look like a new team. When asked what the difference was, defenseman Matt Dumba said, “He brings us energy!” From a fan’s standpoint, they are definitely playing with much more energy and enthusiasm, better teamwork, and look like they are having fun again.

This is a great example of the significant impact that effective leadership has on teams and organizations. The amount of energy within a team is dependent on the leader. Servant leaders recognize this and are very intentional about what they do to build energy.

The following are things I have noticed that Coach Torchetti has done in his short tenure to Build Energy within the team and turn their performance around:

  • Conducted 1×1 meetings with every player on Day 1 to clarify his vision. This provided the opportunity to let team members know how important they are to the achievement of the purpose and vision of the team. Letting people know how important their work is will build energy.
  • During these meetings he clarified expectations for each player. In many cases he simplified things and gave them more liberty and freedom particularly in the offensive zone.  Setting boundaries, and putting people in control of their destiny will build energy.
  • He is treating all players the same, veterans and rookies alike, eliminating double standards. There seemed to be some favoritism to the veterans before the change. Treating everyone fairly with mutual respect and trust will build energy.
  • He is extremely engaged during the games, providing both direction when needed, and more importantly instant recognition for a job well done. Recognizing people for their work, and cheering them on, will build energy.

There is obviously more to come in this story. The Wild are only one week into the change so it is too early to judge the ultimate results of this leadership change. But this dramatic turnaround in performance would illustrate the impact that effective leadership has on team and organization performance!

What are you doing as a leader to Build Energy within your team!


Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29