Reflections on Leadership

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As I think about team-building, it is really leadership; and leadership is really about finding ways to motivate your team. I think much of it is captured in Steve Forbes’ point about leadership being about intangibles. To me, this means that you have to see getting to know and understand people as your job, not an ancillary aspect of it. I think it is a failure of leadership to not work to do all of these things (See below for 5 Key Components of Team Building). If you don’t balance each of these, you lose the ability to create the company-front (a marching band term), so to speak, in terms of bringing the entire team forward simultaneously. If you don’t value the company front, you will create a splintered team and breed disloyalty toward your purpose and organization. Additionally, these objectives create an environment wherein the job isn’t viewed as all about the money. Sure, money is up there with oxygen; however, it cannot be the sole motivation for a career or even a temporary stop along the jobs ladder. I would also emphasize that this kind of leadership and work environment does not happen by accident. Someone in the organization must find ways to create a culture that helps people understand what is important, what will and won’t be rewarded or accepted, and that helps them believe that there is support for them professionally and personally whether the crisis is of their own doing or beyond their control. Finally, aside from working to understand the basics of human nature and the nuances of your particular team, there is no clear roadmap to building a team. It is a “get your hands dirty” kind of job; as you learn it, you must lead by example.

 

5 Key Componenets of Team Building
(Leadership sentiments shared with me by one of my former bosses and mentors in answer to the question: If I were inviting you to speak to the team that I’m training (and I’m not…LOL), what would be your top 3 – 5 pieces of advice for building a great team?)

A)  Be a coach and not necessarily just a supervisor. Offer coaching at opportunities when you believe it will help and other times, stay out of the way

B)  Use creative strategies to gauge team member’s strengths and do it in a way that folks can ID those strengths and use that to build teams to do work and also understand why someone operates a certain way or prefers quiet to say lots of activity

C)  Find opportunities to celebrate successes and to acknowledge people and offer small rewards to them – Do it publicly so that folks get that recognition in a public environment

D)  Delegate and hold folks accountable and don’t micromanage

E)  Give staff opportunities for growth – and leadership and encourage that – small example was rotating who lead and was responsible for staff meetings.

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