We are a group of headstrong people. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a great team, with great ideas. The question is just how to mesh with each other.
Thoughts of the Day: Strong leadership is crucial for any successful team. First come strong leaders, then come strong teams. Focusing on common goals can help people see beyond individual differences. Divide up responsibilities, authority and accountabilities. Hold regular meetings to insure communication.
To have strong leadership, and build strong teams, you have to develop your team leaders.
People who are passionate, committed, determined, and willing to lead can take your company forward, but not as loners. Help your people become strong leaders. Encourage people to make decisions, but not in a vacuum. Teach people to share information as they learn to listen with respect and take into account the value of different viewpoints.
Work together to set company goals, and then get out of the way.
Establish “topline” goals – the points on the horizon towards which everyone is headed. Ask for commitment to achieving those goals. Encourage debate and periodically re-evaluate to make sure you’re on the right path. Don’t be afraid to change course if things are not working out as expected.
Make it clear what you expect to happen, then get out of the way.
Act like an orchestra director.
- Be sure that all team members understand what they are required to produce in order for the team to be effective.
- Develop a list of action steps to achieve topline goals
- Assign tasks and hold people accountable
Align everyone around the same future.
Create a team of winners by recognizing successes and talking with individuals and groups about their contributions to those successes. No matter the difference in approaches, align everyone around what’s going right, use that to build confidence that the rest of the challenges can be met and overcome.
There’s no room for ego in true leadership. Everyone needs to work towards the same goals, keep in mind that success means different things to different people.
Encourage team members to get to know each other. Ask individuals to walk in each other’s shoes so there’s a better understanding of what each team member is required to step up and deliver on. Ask everyone to check their egos at the door as they get to know what each other needs in order to succeed.
Figure out what success means for each team member.
- Get to know what team members are strongest and weakest at doing.
- Ask people to pair up, strengthening weak areas by sharing expertise and practicing to build additional skills.
- Link the company’s goals to what’s in it for each member of the team, and don’t assume it’s all about money.
- Pride in a job well done, opportunity for greater responsibility, a chance to learn new things can be powerful motivators as well.
Actively build a team based on people’s strengths.
Figure out who on your team are the big thinkers and who does well at pulling together all the details. Build up trust by teaching team members to respect each other’s input, look beyond individual differences and take heed of concerns and feelings. There is no bad idea. Resolve differences by pointing towards the common goals and recognizing progress that has been achieved.
There’s always more than one way to solve a problem, more than one way to get to a destination. In effectively run companies, there’s no room for, “my way or the highway”. That approach shuts out innovation, discourages contribution, and leads to missed opportunities. Encourage teamwork and collaboration.
Respect isn’t optional in this team.
Teach your people to communicate with respect. If someone tries to take over and bully the group, remember that often bullying tendencies come from a place of fear that things might not work out right. Lower the risks by reminding everyone they’re on the same team, encouraging discussion and debate, and knowing when it’s time to take a breather, drop a topic, come back to it at another time.
Ensure that your company is filled with leaders:
- Lead by example, you set the standards
- Recognize other’s strengths, and encourage people to use their strengths
- Let other people make important decisions.
- Give employees more responsibility
- Help employees plan for their future
- Trust your team
- Help your team grow into leaders, don’t wait for them to identify themselves
- Push the limits of your people, discomfort cultivates change, and change cultivates growth
- Respect your employees, who they are and how they make decisions
- Show your appreciation, it’s not always about monetary rewards, praise and affirmations work great too
Looking for a good book? Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, by Simon Sinek.