by Dr. David Robinson
1. Do less yourself and more through your team. Leading a team is not the same as supervising a group. It’s about giving away and staying out of the way. Give away your leadership influence to deserving team members, and then stay out of their way and watch them succeed. If you cannot do that, it could mean you have failed to teach or train them, or simply do not trust them.
2. Pick the best. The best person for your team may not always be the most qualified person in every area. Attitude deficiencies and poor work habits are difficult to overcome regardless of other qualifications. Great teams begin with recruiting and choosing well. Be patient – you cannot build a great team in a hurry.
3. Build relational equity. When your invest in your team members don’t forget the emotional connection. Conducting intellectual and skill development events are expected and necessary but do little in building relational equity. When you test a relationship, make sure your equity covers your demand. Every team member has different needs. Appreciating that makes you an exceptional leader.
4. Communicate well. If you keep their attention, you won’t have to get their attention. Keeping your team informed begins with listening and not telling. Communication means all parties understand all the issues – all the time. Social media are great information tools but poor communication tools. It’s not about the quantity of information you give out, but how much your team understands.
5. Create a learning environment together. Everyone needs to maintain a cooperative learning culture including the leader. Admit your weakness. Ask your team what you need to learn in order to help them better. What leaders learn after they know it all separates great leaders from poor or average leaders. Humility in today’s world is scarce – but it’s still a great team-building skill. Review progress regularly as part of the learning experience. Celebrate people who struggle but find ways to learn, succeed and move on. Use what’s learned in the next project or event.
6. Allow people to fail. Disappointment and failure is a reality on any team. How you handle failure is vital in building a great team. No one wants to fail. Your reaction as their leader when they do determines whether the outcome is positive or creates more doubt and fear. Make it OK to be human.
7. Have fun. Leaders walk a fine line between familiarity and easy working relationships. But it can be done. Watch for signals and respond accordingly. At the same time enable and support laughter. It creates a strong and sustainable bond.
Three Simple Actions You Can Take Today:
1. Test yourself today for things that “only you can do.” Is it really true? If you weren’t here today who would do it?
2. Ask your team what you could do differently that would help them do their job better.
3. Check the weaknesses on your team – people or tasks. Who or what is draining the team’s energy? Is it fixable? If not, find a fair way to resolve it – fast!