Can you truly lead your team to new heights?
Everyone wants a winning team but not everyone knows how to produce a winning team. Every leader wants to secure a major victory but not every leader knows how to lead people into battle. Team managers and leaders must recognize the correlation between a team’s altitude and its achievement. The truth be told...a team that never increases its altitude can never soar!
Sadly, many teams in our workplaces are suffering from a stalled flight pattern. This occurs when a high-potential team is held back from reaching higher points of elevation and potential. Stalled team flight patterns should not be taken lightly as it can result in mass burnout within your organization.
In this post, I want to introduce you to some ironclad principles that will help your team SOAR. My hope is that these principles would be translated into immediate actionable takeaways that you can implement this week!
So...what will it take to help your team SOAR?
If you don’t know how to articulate success, you’ll never be able to navigate others to it! Many of us have encountered the great teachings of popular thought leaders such as Stephen Covey or Simon Sinek that encourage us to begin with the end in mind. In order to motivate, inspire, or stimulate our teams, we need to help people understand the big picture or vision. Vision is the key to action. It’s the lifeblood of collaborative progress. Even the Bible mentions that without vision, people will perish.
Great leaders paint the end picture for their teams. They help their people understand the destination and identify the finish line. When a leader can articulate vision with clarity and heart, his or her people will feel inspired to contribute to its achievement.
Leveraging the strengths of your teammembers helps create true organizational advantage. In their book, Strengths-Based Leadership, authors Tom Rath and Barry Conchie state, “Effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and build on each person's strengths.” Prioritizing our passion (and strengths) supercharges our performance and productivity.
On the contrary, focusing on our weaknesses, stifles both performance and productivity. Rath and Conchie continue, “If you focus on people’s weaknesses, they lose confidence. At a very basic level, it is hard for us to build self-confidence when we are focused on our weaknesses instead of our strengths.” Great leaders help people stay within their strengths zone. The more your people operate in their strength zone, the faster your organization will reach the end zone!
Similar to how great leaders must lean into and depend on the strengths of their people, so should leaders also lean into and depend on the diversity of their people. No one person is the same. Each of us have distinct qualities, features, backgrounds, traditions, passions, and preferences that bring both fresh perspectives and problem-solving skills to the table. Affirming diversity fosters a culture of safety. Celebrating diversity fosters a culture of energy.
Taking the time to evaluate the frequency and depth of our affirmations of others is a healthy and vital practice of high impact leadership. Furthermore, taking the time to celebrate the wins of our teams is paramount in fostering momentum. Celebrating the victories (whether big or small) is the difference between engaged or disconnected employees. It’s also the difference between vibrant production and mundane execution.
When it comes to organizational health, there is no such thing as having too much clarity. I appreciate what author Thom Rainer says on the matter, “Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by the people...Clarity involves certainty, and it eliminates confusion.” Every team has an engine similar to that of a steam locomotive. In order for it to continue moving down the tracks, the leader must continually stoke the engine’s fire by adding the coals of clarity. Reminding your people of the why will help them maintain the way.
To borrow another imagery, imagine your team is like a driver steering the vehicle on a lengthy roadtrip. All drivers are susceptible to travel fatigue - the draining of mental focus and energy. Travel fatigue can be pose as a real threat to those on a journey. Because of this, it’s wise to always have a travel buddy. The main responsibility of a travel buddy is to continually engage with the driver by adding energy and stimulation. So it is with teams and team leaders. Your team is on a journey. It’s up to the team leader to help maintain proper mental focus and energy in order to ensure you all arive alive at your destination. Look for meaningful ways to add both clarity and energy to your team!
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