A few weeks ago, I published a blog about “Finding
My Solid Ground.” The article struck
a chord with my readers, many of whom followed up with questions and comments.
One person asked, “Do you have any ideas on how I, as a
leader, can help establish solid ground for the members of my team?” As I sat with the question, I replayed
sessions with clients and conversations with colleagues where that very idea
had been raised – indeed on how a leader can build a real team.
Contextually, of course, the most effective time and place
to establish solid ground for your team is at the very beginning of your
leadership journey with them. “Well
begun is half done,” is an aphorism to remember for any of us embarking on a
new endeavor and most especially when we take on the mantle of leadership
within an organization or business.
For those leaders who might have already been in a role for
a period of time, though, it is never too late to begin to “reset” your
approach with those you serve.
Here are some ways a leader can set the foundation of solid
ground for their people and in the process build a real team:
Leadership – Know that your job as a leader is to serve your team
members by providing a listening ear, communication, collaboration and
accountability – for yourself and everyone on the team. Remind yourself of that every day – great
leaders live and breathe this philosophy.
Bring out the intellect of others – no need
to display your own! Recognize that
although you have well developed sides, appreciate that you need not be the
smartest person in the room – remember that the intellectual capacities of any
two people on your team are inevitably more capable and imaginative than just
one of you! Your job is to encourage
ideas and help the team integrate them into innovative solutions – bring your own
brain and just add it to the problem-solving sessions rather than feeling that
you have to own all the answers.
Don’t sugarcoat the challenges – embrace
them! This is certain – issues and
problems always exist. And another thing
is equally certain – you as a leader need to transmit your very real belief
that your team, working together, is equal to any challenge they face. Teams are not created to walk away from
problems – they were designed to solve them!
Be willing to be vulnerable – Oftentimes
that means admitting that you can’t do it all alone and that you need support
from others. It is counterintuitive to
some that by being vulnerable you will inspire confidence in your leadership. But it is true. That includes accepting your imperfections
and those of your colleagues and team – and realizing that the team as a system
can only expand its range and grow through learning from errors and mistakes. My colleague Lisa McNeill eloquently addresses
compassion and understanding that serves a leader and their team in that
Never forget to celebrate your team members
– Remember – it is not a leader’s job to just set out goals and expect them to
be achieved. Rather, it is your job to help everyone appreciate the challenges
they face, celebrate the capabilities the team members possess and help them
grow even more. As my colleague Allison
Iantosca noted in a recent blog, our teams are made up of grown-up
employees and if we treat them that way it helps build their capabilities
even more. And don’t be afraid to tell
those you serve how much they mean to you – it doesn’t hurt to say the words
out loud that a wise person once told me, “We’re better because of our people,”
because indeed we are!
Each person is unique and yet each of us have common needs,
beliefs and values embodied in the concepts included above. Those who seek to grow – as leaders and as
fellow travelers on the planet – can best use these ideas not as a checklist of
things to do, but instead as a way of being. For that is our essential essence as human “beings,”
of Boston Executive Coaches – bostonexecutivecoaches.com – is a former U.S.
Army officer and senior airline executive who works with leaders throughout
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
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