Building a Leadership Culture to Win – Mercedes AMG F1, Toto Wolff.

​​Part 2: How to Lead Like Toto


During a recent podcast with Mercedes’s 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg, Toto Wolff revealed the following 4 areas he has worked on since joining the team:

1. Lead by example and admit when you are wrong.

Not only does this show integrity but Toto talked about how by admitting when you are wrong and being self-reflective, can be a very powerful tool when speaking to members of your team. By you opening up also gives others the space to admit when they are wrong also. This can lead to create a culture of brutal transparency and honestly - which ultimately is better for the team as they can change processes quicker if they are not covering up issues. Overall, Toto states, the Mercedes team has a no blame culture and their mantra across all departments is "See it, Say it, Fix it!".

2. Mindfulness - Encouraging the team to allow time to think away from technology.

In a full-on industry like motorsport, burn out is always a realistic possibility which Toto and his management team are very aware of and keen to avoid within the team.

To help address this, they encourage their team to take time out from technology. Not only can this help avoid burnout but helps with creativity and mindfulness allowing yourself to take time out to reflect.

Toto leads by example on this and in a flight back from the Australian Grand Prix to the team’s base in the UK didn’t use any technology for the whole flight, he just sat and reflected. He said its these moments when you can truly question and understand yourself so also actively encourages team members to schedule time to literally put their feet up and reflect.

3. Being Humble in Victory.

When you are winning all the time it is very easy to get arrogant and complacent. In fact we see examples in sport of this all the time. During this year's Six Nations Rugby, Welsh Coach Warren Gatland said after his team were on a winning streak “We just don’t know how to lose!”. This is all very well but do you know how to win also?

Being the best in any sport can actually be the hardest place to be, as you are the bench mark for everyone else – but where is your bench mark?

I’ll touch on this more in a later blog when talking about “Avoiding Complacency” but ultimately Toto believes you must stay humble in victory and continue to analyse where it went right and also areas you can still improve on.

4. Addressing the Fear of Failure.

Fear of failure is a huge issue for many of us in both business and personal life. When it comes to Mercedes Toto asks himself “Ultimately what is the worst-case scenario when it comes to failure?” and the answer is Mercedes do not win a race. He then has to question is that scenario really that bad? Yes, he doesn’t want it to happen every week but he can think of many worse things for the business, such as a no deal Brexit which will impact the business and its employees potentially far more. 

To find out more about HR Strategy Pro ‘Ignition’ and how we are #UnlockingPeoplePerformance across business and sport using #OurMotorsportDNA, please click here.​

All photos have been taken by the HR Strategy Pro Ignition team on their travels, please do not use without permission.

The Secrets to Sustainable Success in Formula One Blog