Do you love your team? I've been so blessed and lucky in my life to have been part of some truly outstanding teams filled with people who challenged me, supported me, and made my life (and work) better. I have loved the people on those teams and many years after working with the people on those teams I still think of them fondly almost every day.
The team pictured here was one of my early teams at the Ryan Insurance Group. The talent on that team, and on other teams, astounded me every day. We had our struggles, but they were hard working, brilliant people and I miss every one of them.
There have been other great teams of course. Today I think about this group and what it grew into as we expanded, improved, and grew as people and as a business. I was not a perfect boss, and I'm sure I sparked more than a little frustration now and then, but they patiently dedicated themselves to achieving the goals of the team.
It's not too late, and your team has a lot to teach you. Sure, your job as a leader includes training your team members and making sure that they develop in ways that help them while also achieving your team goals. What many leaders forget, though, is that your team is also constantly teaching you.
They are teaching you what they need to succeed. They are teaching you how their interpersonal dynamics are developing. They are teaching you how effective your leadership style is. It may not always seem like it, but they have things to tell you that may not be said directly with words.
How is their performance? Are they happy? Do they feel connected to something larger than themselves? Are they proud to be part of the team? Do they feel valued and appreciated?
Watch their body language. Listen to their tone. Get clarity around what their words say. Stay attentive to what they have to teach.
Every team teaches its leader whether or not they&…
Leaders do need healthy egos. We must demonstrate belief, confidence, and assurance. All of that requires healthy self-esteem that allows us to stand up to resistance and push thru difficulty. It's possible, though, for that self-esteem to turn into self-aggrandizement if we're not careful.
How can we manage our egos? The best way I know is by developing the kinds of strong, open, honest relationships with people that allow others to provide feedback. Have a friend who is willing to tell you when your ego is bloated or your assumptions are presumptuous. Develop the resilience and resolve to realize that, gasp! you are not always right. Especially when we begin operating fast and relentlessly the safety valve of honest people keeps us out of trouble.
Also, everyone we deal with has an ego. Our team members, our customers, our bosses. Egos are everywhere and whether they are confident or hesitant we deal with them in the middle of working on o…
How much time do you spend managing your own boss?
Front line leaders can spend so much time leading their own people that it's easy to forget how important it is to develop your relationship with your own boss. You do need your boss's support for any plans, discipline, or development you have for your people. You do need your boss's cooperation when your team members go over your head about an issue and go directly to your boss. And, you'd like your boss's help in developing your career.
But your boss is busy. Your boss has personal tasks to take care of. Your boss has a challenging boss to keep happy. It's easy for you and your boss to drift apart as you both work hard to accomplish your goals. But still you've got to find a way.
The toughest task for any boss is managing their own boss.
Although it may be tough, your future could depend on it. Without your boss's help, everything is harder. With it, almost anything is possible.
I'm sure you've seen a lot of mission statements. I have, too. Most of them are so long that I couldn't remember them if my job depended on it. And yet, in many ways, your job does depend on it.
I've learned that if you keep it brief, it's easier to remember which makes it easier to do and much more likely to shine as the strategic guiding light that you're looking for.
Try this. First, identify what you do. Second, identify how you do it. Put those two things together. If you don't like what develops, try again. Find yourself a two-word mission statement and see how empowering it makes you feel. If you like it, keep it. If you don't, try again.
What is your two-word mission statement?
Mine is "developing leadership."
It's an abbreviated version of the full mission statement of "developing leadership with clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion." I like both. I can remember both. But…
Front line leaders either know that they can't hide or they soon learn it the hard way. You can't hide, and you can't hide your problems. Performance problems, attendance problems, quality problems, morale problems, skill problems, motivation problems...nearly any and every team has more than its share. Why should yours be any different.
Pay attention. Talk about it. Get your team to collaborate. Find the root causes. Explore possibilities. Solve those problems.
Everyone knows when a supervisor is ignoring a problem.
...and there's no payoff to ignoring a problem. The payoff is in the solution.