Are You Leading A Great Team?

Written by:  Don Picture 1Don Hadley

Businesses are working to compete more effectively with better people and teams.

However, competition is tougher now than it has been in the past.  The world moves more swiftly.  The culture of what is expected is vastly different than it was even three years ago.

To be able to prevent problems, overcome obstacles and take advantage of opportunities, we need to use true teams to make the difference.

The Typical Approach

Many leaders develop a following by having developing great relationships with individuals.  As they build the relationships, they end up with followers that will follow them and do so with great loyalty.  But the strength of the relationship is one to one.

shaking hands in front of groupOne organization in the construction trades for 35+ years had great, loyal employees.  However, the leader of the business had to stay involved.  They were the glue that held the business and the people together.  Each time the leader worked fewer hours, the processes, relationships and results would begin to unwind.  While he was a great leader with individuals, the team had to have him involved to be productive.  The leader needed to be the glue.  The loyalty of the followers was to the leader.

This causes a challenge since the individuals that follow the leader may not work so well together themselves without the leader.

  1. The team results are not as strong and slower. Problems are not caught as quickly nor are they prevented.  Less doing occurs. Less creativity is used.
  2. As an organization, they may not be as sustainable. If the leader is on vacation, has a health problem or busy with another issue, then organizational results start to suffer.  Strategy has a tendency to be weak since much energy is being used on operational issues.
  3. The individual followers are limited in what they can learn. Only so much can be learned from the leader.  They need to be interacting, learning and collaborating with other members of the team.  Without the collaboration, valuable wisdom does not spread through the organization.
  4. Leaders have fatigue and weariness. The job has lost its luster and they find themselves back in situations where they feel like they have experienced the same problem over and over again.
  5. Problems have a tendency to continue reoccurring. Instead of moving to a higher level, time, energy and resources are expended at a lower level.  One leader kept fixing mistakes made by his people and so they never learned how to fix, and more importantly, how to prevent the problem.

The Team Approach

Instead we want to create a dynamic where the team members become loyal to the vision, a destination, where it is necessary that they all act together to achieve that vision.  It is a big enough vision and destination that it cannot be achieved by one person acting on their own.

Vision - team looking out windowThe vision also needs to be motivating on several levels so that everyone in the culture can attach a deep personal reason to take action towards the vision with the rest of the team and organization.

Additionally, a road-map is needed that shares the “how” and has alternate options, different roads, that can be taken if there needs to be a detour (i.e. this is a potential detour; we will try this approach instead).

  1. The team results are multiplied because a variety of points of view are used to both drive progress and creativity in fixing the problem. The team has better buy in and can support each other throughout the organization because they have a better understanding of the big picture.
  2. As an organization everyone is helping each other instead of having to rely on the leader as the pipeline for information or to be the glue. When the leader is there, the team and organization have additional resources but performance does not suffer without the leader.
  3. The individual followers are happier because they have fewer restraints. They have additional confidence because they see the bigger picture and access to more people and resources.  They also get better results since there are fewer obstacles in the way.
  4. Leaders have more energy and time to focus on more strategic issues. They can look longer term, broader and deeper at where the organization needs to go.  They can identify and develop resources that will strategically improve the team, the organization and what it produces.
  5. Problems are prevented. Rarely is the same problem occurring twice since each problem is learned from and converted to a higher level more effective approach.

One global organization struggling with strong leaders of individuals wanted to build strong team leadership so they could grow their organization.  They wanted to grow without burning through lots of people and money.  As they built the vision, road-map and taught team skills, they doubled the business in 5 years.  They did it again in 4 years.  They are currently working to double once again in 3 years.  In that time, they have lost very few members of their organization to the difficulties of growth and have incredibly more effective people.

Call to Action

If you need your leaders to develop true teamwork around them and in the rest of the organization and make a leap to your next level of success, call us at 1-800-786-4332 or email us at

To help you clearly understand your current situation, complete The High Performance Teams™ Scorecard by clicking here.

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