Lead yourself first
The often ignored problem is when you lead a team and you have not learned how to lead yourself first before leading others. In business, how often are the “Super Workers” promoted to “Supervisors” who are expected to lead sales teams, customer service teams, operations teams, etc.?
What happens is the current team members become disillusioned and disheartened by the leadership because the leader lacks the necessary interpersonal skills along with key management skills to lead a high functioning team where everyone works together toward the same, crystal clear goal.
We see this super worker supervisory syndrome prevalent in all aspects of businesses such as:
- Attorney who becomes a partner
- Nurse who becomes the office manager
- Physician who becomes Chief Medical Information Officer
- Teacher who becomes the principal
- Top sales performer who becomes the sales manager
Lead yourself first when promoted
When these individuals are promoted, we then learn after the fact of their inability to lead others. Their own self-leadership in many cases is more misses than hits. To be able to lead a team requires a strong capacity to be able to say no, to make those hard decisions and to realize that “consensus is the absence of leadership.” (Thank you, Margaret Thatcher). Yet how many people demonstrate those capacities when it comes to their own lives?
Do as I say
We see overweight healthcare providers who are telling others to get fit. We hear about doing whatever it takes to get the sale yet the sales manager is only working a few hours each day and is never available for joint sales calls. Then there are those who believe everyone must agree and hence nothing gets done. Worse yet no one takes responsibility for the failure to secure the desired results. Complete chaos becomes the driving force instead of cohesive collaboration.
To develop a team works far better when the leader is in a voluntary state of continued development. He or she has written professional and personal plans that are supported by WAY SMART goals and provide forward direction. Too often the “Do what I say, not what I do” development disconnect surfaces and creates even further negative energy between the team members and the team leader.
People are pretty smart and can quickly identify phoney leaders probably because there are so many.
Team development starts with the development of the team leader. As this individual practices what he or she is preaching, there is a greater likelihood of the team following and emulating the team leader.
If you are attempting to secure better results for your team, then the questions you ask first should be about you, your attitudes, your skills, and your behaviors. This is the time for taking proven human behavior and talent assessments such as:
- Innermetrix Attribute Index
- DISC Index
- Values Index
- Emotional Intelligence
Then use the results from these assessments to begin to improve your own self-leadership before seeking to improve the team.
Of course, facing the reality of your own talents, your style of communication, your motivators, your intrapersonal and interpersonal behaviors as well as how others perceive you is not easy. Yet it is probably the best way to ensure the accurate source of the team’s potential.