Monday, December 3, 2018

What are the keys to being a successful team leader? - part #1

We were talking over the phone about his team and why it was not changing quickly when he said:. “I’ve been telling them what they need to do for six weeks and they still have not changed. What am I doing wrong? They should have changed by now.”

I replied, “People and teams do not change as fast as software. They have a different level of work to do. At this point, remember the old Bible phrase: ‘Be ye steadfast.’ It will happen, but not as quickly as you think it should happen.”

Our challenge as leaders is to realize that “the supervisor’s role has moved away from just managing individuals and toward the much more complicated task of promoting productive, healthy team dynamics, people need help with that…”, write Peter Cappelli and Anna Travis in their article called “HR Goes Agile” in the March-April 2018 issue of the Harvard Business Review.

When I coach leaders on how to be an effective and successful team leader, I routinely tell them to be prepared for the messiness of group process and team dynamics. This means that they as leaders need to have the energy to do this work, not just time or effort to do the work. They need to recognize that they will not always be able to control their time but they can make choices to support having the energy to do the work. This means knowing their limits, seeking out help when needed, and to value structure outside of work. As we all know in the world of leadership, there will always be an unexpected crisis which demands your attention, time and clear thinking. We must be better prepared for these moments and not be working so close to the burn out stage of living.
Next, most leaders believe they shouldn’t need outside help or structure. Marshall Goldsmith in his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful (Hyperion, 2007) reminds us that our flaws at work and our challenges at work do not vanish when we walk through the front door at home. That is why we as leaders need better support systems at work and at home.

This week, check to make sure you are prepared at work and at home to handle the current challenges surfacing at the end of this year and the new ones that will inevitably come in the new year. If you do not feel well prepared, seek outside help and support to gain perspective and focus. It will make a world of difference over time.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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