Hi & Welcome!

Over the past month we’ve been exploring the various aspects of Team Building. We’ve explored;

*You can review these post simply by clicking on the link 🙂 

Today’s post will be the last in the series, and will be exploring Leadership.

I wanted to share the traits that my clients, and social media followers provided when asked – ‘What makes a great leader?’;

‘Empathy, humility, strength, decisive, transparency, compassion, knowledge, time, honesty, caring, approachable, genuine, authentic, understanding, connected

Thank you to all who made a contribution. There’s some great traits listed. It also highlights what individuals want, and are happy to work for, be part of, and collaborate with. All of which are key aspects of great functioning and successful teams. 

As with most things, leadership has evolved, requiring an emotionally intelligent style of communication, and operating with ethical integrity. An example of this approach is how great teams and their leadership focus not only on building team member capabilities in their specific team role, but also as people who can then use those skills to serve their family and community.

One of the main challenges for any leader is to effectively communicate, and inspire their team to achieve a vision within a team-based work structure. The best way of creating that inspiration, is to include all team members in developing the common purpose and shared values, that will align it’s choices and priorities, and where decision making is a collaborative group effort. Effective and committed leadership to a common purpose not only creates a momentum in favour of a movement, but also sets forth a greater possibility of its success to which others will respond by jumping on the ‘bandwagon’.

‘Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.’ 

Sheryle Sandberg, COO, Facebook 

Great teams, have adopted and embraced inclusiveness to achieve goals, develop a successful culture, leading to sustained success. Leadership within those great teams have collective buy-in, and understand the answer to any problem or success, can’t be solved or performed by one individual, but can be solved and achieved by the empowered collective. Perhaps the biggest takeaway of great teams and their leaders is, they are more about team, and caring of individuals, than about personal gain or promotion.  These leaders get satisfaction and enjoyment from leading, not necessarily achieving the common purpose. They have realised, that if the team achieves the common purpose, personal gain and/or promotion will take care of itself.  Success is success, and by empowering the team and creating trust, will allow them to surrender control for it to operate efficiently, and is more effective than trying to exhibit power and control.

As leadership has evolved, unfortunately many leaders have not. There’s still many teams under performing, operating from a hierarchy model, with leaders not consulting its team members, and passing down objectives to implement. Let’s be real, hierarchy models can work, and have their place.  There are many examples where hierarchy models have well functioning teams, their success exhibits the same principles, through inclusiveness in developing a common purpose. 

However, teams or organisational goals that are decided by it’s hierarchy leaders such as a Board, upper management or CEO, to be passed down for implementation, often create a culture where leaders become more worried about there own career, than developing a successfully operating team, and successful culture. With the absence of a common purpose, leadership doesn’t matter in an organisation, because people have no direction, and leaders without a greater purpose see those around them as a means for accomplishment of their individual goals.

This often results in leading from insecurity and fear;

Leaders operating from insecurity and fear will often display the following characteristics;

  • Stop explaining their actions and decisions
  • Tell staff and team members how to do their job
  • Avoid confrontation 
  • Surround themselves with ‘yes people’ and hierarchy
  • Won’t listen
  • Lack Empathy
  • Have a closed mind
  • Take credit for the teams achievements or an individuals success. 
  • Try to hide their mistakes and weaknesses
  • Indecisive – Second guess their own decisions
  • Have a lack of trust and feel threatened by fellow team or staff members
  • Refuse to take personal responsibility for actions and decisions and pass it onto to others to protect themselves
  • Bully, directly or indirectly, to push their own agenda’s and further their own goals
  • Micromanage and take projects out of team members hands, not because the team member can’t perform the task, but for control or fear of being exposed in an area they are responsible for

These leadership traits, aren’t going to be inspiring any kind of success, and will often lead to participants simply living unchallenged, unfulfilled, doing the bare minimum in their teams existence, which I call ‘survival mode’. 

To get out of the rut, leaders need to engage, be inclusive, seek feedback, remove the individual focus, flatten the hierarchy structure, and replace it with a sense of belonging for all.

Individuals want to be inspired, challenged, have a sense of importance, be connected, and enjoy what they do.  If leaders can embrace and tap into those common elements through inclusiveness, and seeking what they want to achieve, individually and collectively, the results will often be far and beyond anything they ever expected. 

So there it is, I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and the Team Building series. 

Thanks once gain for reading, your support, contributions, and feedback

As always, please feel free to comment below.

If you would like to engage with Stride to assist with any aspect of your team building, or to further develop your leadership, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Aaron Tenabel is the owner and founder of Stride Life Coaching. An ex professional swimmer and elite coach, Aaron now uses those experiences and skills to empower individuals and teams to reach their full potential and achieve ultimate success.