"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much" - Helen Keller
Einstein said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." Who am I to argue? I've read a lot of books on how to lead teams. I've also had a lot of experience of leading others.
Ever since I was old enough to think for myself, I've sought to collaborate and inspire others to do things together. I distinctly remember pulling together a few friends to create a mini play at the age of 10. It was my take on a popular song at the time and it involved everyone adopting the role of someone famous to play their part. They had never done anything like this before and none of them typically sought the limelight. What inspired them to be involved was my adoption of the framework I am about to a share with you. (Although, of course, I had no idea what I was doing then!)
The framework is AEIOU and it works just as well for a league winning sports team as it does for a simple two minute play performed by a team of 10 year olds. As you read through the framework, give yourself a mark out of 10 for how well you feel your team is doing right now.
Does everyone know WHY the team exists? Are they clear on the Purpose? Is it obvious the part they are playing in something bigger than the team?
Aligning all of the team's activity with a specific purpose or organisational goal galvanises effort and provides a unifying focus.
Effectively, you are providing strategic clarity for your team and contextualising their combined efforts. This frees them up to do the work and know the value of their contribution.
As we discussed in 5 Steps to Transform Your Change Management, change can take a long time to implement. Some life changes can be instantaneous but change that involves a lot of people can take years (even if the initial action happens on one day). So, for example, if an organisation is switching on a new system, it can take years to design, implement, embed and become part of the culture.
Consequently, if you are going to lead a team to deliver great work, there will be times when their energy levels wane. As the leader, you will need to pick them up and lead by example. Your energy levels need to be high to inspire. You are the barometer.
Every member of your team has a valuable contribution to make. Just as the cleaners at NASA helped put the first man on the moon, some of your most junior and inexperienced team members will play a vital role in helping the team deliver.
The other thing to consider is the diverse perspectives you will acquire if you create an environment in which all opinions are welcomed.
The key is, therefore, to design for inclusivity. Develop processes which routinely involve all the team.
The best teams know. They just know:
Your job as the team leader is help everyone build their knowledge and develop the routines which will guarantee progress and success.
The other important element of being Organised is ensuring whoever is sponsoring/advocating the work of your team is fully supportive and ensuring the team is always fully resourced.
"A culture of We is always more powerful than one of Me."
Even Superstars need a team. The player that scores needs the vital pass. The climber who reaches the summit needs vital supplies to complete the journey.
Your focus as a leader of teams is...everyone.
The intention of your time with team members is to weave them together and help them recognise their interdependence.
One of the best books on the subject of Team Leadership is this book by the legendary leadership expert John C. Maxwell. Each of the indisputable Laws is neatly discussed and supported with real-world examples. Highly recommended.
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