It’s been said that a leader without followers is just a man taking a walk. There is a lot of truth to this statement. Leadership is probably one of the most risky team sports to play. As you elevate in your career/organization and your responsibilities increase you become more responsible for the outcomes and successes of the group you lead. Once you become the number one draft pick you cannot escape the limelight or the obligations. All the more reason to invest the time, energy, and effort in developing your team. You may not get to choose all the teammates…in fact, you may not get to choose any of them but BUT cultivating a culture of success and creativity will be crucial to your success. Here are five tips:

1.  Be patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your team won’t be either. Establish rapport. Build confidence. Develop a strategy that plays to the teams strengths.

2. Make goal and priority setting inclusive

Chances are, you have already been given your marching orders for the “ivory palace.” But, the “how” and the “who” have been left up to you. It is important to get input from those on the front line as you develop your success strategy.  Once the overall goals have been set then its time to set goals for  the individual team members. When you do this you create buy-in and ensure that the work and effort is supporting the established priorities.

3. Work with the weak links

We all have team members who are not as strong as others. They can be the downfall of the group if not managed properly. Instead of seeing this glass as half empty see it as half full. Use this as an opportunity to support, develop, encourage and hold accountable this person. You may be pleasantly surprised. And, if you are not then you have some decisions to make about the team structure going forward.

4. Celebrate successes with the team

5. Check yourself

Always review “lessons learned” from the perspective of the leader and the follower. You might be surprised that your view from the hot seat is very different than the front line perspective. Lessons learned are the seeds of future success. Invite and encourage the team to participate in this process. Dare I say, require it?  Here’s a suggestion: On your weekly status reports or at meetings request team members provide you with a “lesson learned.”

Teams can work “with you” or “against you.” Good leadership encourages and values the input of its team members.

ENNA A. BACHELOR

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