Focus and leadership
Team building programs are useless unless they help the participants connect their new-found awareness to results. The same applies at the team level. Team members may find it interesting to learn more about team members, but there is a need to connect learning to action plans which result in tangible and measurable outcomes for the company.
In great teams, leaders spend time clarifying goals, cultivating their own leadership skills and collectively identifying new ways and solutions to achieve great results. An effective leader will check make sure the organization’s goals and strategies remain clear and achievable for every team member. At the same time, they help build capability of individual team members versus always taking on the work of the team themselves.
Simply developing productive and constructive communication to a greater degree will help leaders increase their effectiveness and their teams function most effectively. Leaders often feel unnecessary pressure to tell everyone on the team what to do. The key is to focus on influencing versus doing.
Experiential learning helps clarify big picture goals and expectations. In order to do this effectively, you must communicate the goals in a number ways that appeal to a variety of team members. Some may need a visual representation (e.g., a roadmap); others may need to know the “why” behind the goals to buy in. A proper facilitation will help the team to articulate their understanding of the overall goals in their own words based on their experience.
Another experiential learning solution can be created to help the team focus on the goal (the what) and the key strategies (the how). Activities are designed which help uncover trouble spots, create feedback flows and help team members to leverage opportunities. The activity can be followed by a strategic focus session.
Change management and creativity
Activities can help identify one aspect of the team that you would be excited to see change come about. The team can to make sure everyone agrees it would be worth it to affect change in that area. The facilitator will help determine what the best possible outcome could be if the team made the change, adopted a new procedure, tried a new approach or do whatever it is you have identified as a change need. The flow of ideas from the team on how to make it happen will generate excitement and awareness about new possibilities and pathways for progress.
Team building is a means to an end, not an end in itself. What do you want your team to achieve?
No Common Identity or clear focus
People have become used to working independently and view collaboration as a nuisance. Staff may not feel mutually accountable to one another for the team’s objectives. There may be a lack of commitment and effort, conflict between team goals and members’ personal goals, or poor collaboration. As a result the team doesn’t really know how to function. The team has lost focus on results or members have never been clear of their goals in the first place. Without a clear focus, team members frequently react to events in their immediate environment. They become distracted by other team members or simply respond to whatever issue lands in their lap. There’s no strategic team focus or energy to move forward.
This is a key issue. Some leaders are too busy concentrating on their own political or career agenda. Other leaders just don’t understand their role or possess good leadership skills. Leaders can fail teams by not defining a compelling vision for the team, not delegating, or not representing multiple constituencies. There is no understanding of or allowance for situational leadership utilizing the strengths of the team members. Effective leadership is critical to help the team succeed. Without it, team members will resort to their own methods. Some will run as far and fast as they can to prove themselves, pushing boundaries and taking on too much risk. Others will sit idle for as long as they can, performing as little as possible, yet complaining about how much work needs to get done. Another aspect is Inflexible Decision-making. Team members may be rigidly adhering to their positions during decision making to preserve the status quo for selfish reasons or refusing to introduce and work with new information and new ideas.
Lack of Innovation and creativity
The team is unable to generate fresh ideas and perspectives and or convert unexpected setbacks into opportunities. Teams end up doing the same thing while expecting differing results – the definition of insanity! The team is unwilling or unable to consider alternative ideas or approaches. There is a lack of critical thinking or debate over ideas. There is a false emphasis on team agreement and unity without real effectiveness. The team is stuck in practices that may have been established years ago. They’ve gotten lazy or stopped trying new approaches. New team members may be frustrated by the apparent lack of openness to new ideas or ways of operating. Experienced team members defend the way things have always been done. The most effective teams can maintain best practices while adapting to new environments or organizational changes.
This is an area with great potential for disruption of effective teams. There is no effective communication system in place or the systems are outmoded, irrelevant and not modified to face situational reality. Other reasons for poor communication can be unresolved conflicts. Team members refuse to talk with or listen to each other, or may interrupt or talk over one another. There may be consistent silence from some members during meetings, allusions to problems but failure to formally address them, or false consensus (everyone nods in agreement without truly agreeing). Poor communication can also result in a lack of participation or involvement. There may be poor attendance at team meetings or low energy during meetings.
What is leadership? – Searching for a definition (Part 4)
Did not read part 1? Here is it : What is leadership? – Searching for a definition (Part 3)
Let’s look at some more quotations about leadership:[su_quote cite=”Leroy Eimes, author and leadership expert”]A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see and who sees before others see.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Rosalynn Carter, former US first lady”]A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”General Colin Powell, US Army”]Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Former US President John Quincy Adams”]If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft”]As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Jack Welch, former GE chairman and CEO”]Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”U.S. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf”]Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”President Theodore Roosevelt”]People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Warren G. Bennis, founding chairman of the Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California”]Leadership is the capacity to transform vision into reality.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Lao Tsu, Chinese philosopher”]To lead people, walk beside them. As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves![/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Walter Lippmann, writer, reporter and political commentator”]The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger”]The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”General George S. Patton, US Army”]Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker”]The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Former US President Harry Truman”]In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple”]Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Benjamin Hooks, retired director of the NAACP”]If you think you are leading and turn around to see no one following, then you are just taking a walk.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Sam Rayburn, former speaker of the US House of Representatives”]You cannot be a leader, and ask other people to follow you, unless you know how to follow, too.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”US President Dwight D. Eisenhower”]You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership.[/su_quote]
In conclusion, I am struck by the emphasis on people: Leadership involves people – other people. So leadership is not only about the person who leads, but it is also about the people who are being led.
Next, let us look at arriving at a working definition of leadership and look at its implications.
What is leadership? – Searching for a definition (Part 2)
Did not read part 1? Here is it : What is leadership? – Searching for a definition (Part 1)[su_quote cite=”Katie Easley, founder, Kate Ryan Design”]Leadership is stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risk to create reward.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Darcy Eikenberg, founder, RedCapeRevolution.com”]A leader is someone who has the clarity to know the right things to do, the confidence to know when she’s wrong and the courage to do the right things even when they’re hard.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Matt Barney, founder and CEO, LeaderAmp”]Leadership is the behavior that brings the future to the present, by envisioning the possible and persuading others to help you make it a reality.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Jarie Bolander, COO and co-founder, Lab Sensor Solutions”]Leadership is caring more about the cause and the people in your company than about your own personal pain and success. It is about having a greater vision of where your company is trying to go while leaving the path open for others to grow into leaders.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Susan Ascher, CEO, founder and president, SusanAscher.com”]A leader is a person who takes you where you will not go alone.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Marie Hansen, dean of the college of business, Husson University”]Leadership means using one’s influence to help guide others in successfully achieving a goal without desire for recognition, without worry of what others think and with awareness of issues, internal or external, that might change the results sought.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Michael Womack, COO and co-founder, hovelstay.com”]Leadership is not about finding ways to lead better or to motivate your team. It’s about being there from the beginning as equals and becoming a mentor when they need you to be one.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Tom Madine, CEO and president, Worldwide Express”]Leadership styles differ, but at the core, good leaders make the people they are leading accomplish more than they otherwise would. The most effective leaders do this not through fear, intimidation or title, but rather by building consensus around a common goal.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Brigitta Hoeferle, founder and owner, Montessori Kinder International School”]A leader is a mix of a visionary and a left brainer — an inspiration to others who uplifts one to walk beside him, not behind him. A leader lets go of his/her ego and taps into his soul, consistently stretching himself, challenging himself, growing within.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Steve Zeitchik, CEO of Focal Point Strategies”]Leadership is inspiring others to pursue your vision within the parameters you set, to the extent that it becomes a shared effort, a shared vision and a shared success.[/su_quote]
What is leadership? – Searching for a definition (Part 1)
Google dictionary defines leadership as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this”.
I would initially describe Leadership as the art of influencing others to accomplish certain objectives.
Some definitions given by various leadership gurus would help give a clearer picture and also highlight certain key aspects of leadership[su_quote cite=”Lisa Cash Hanson, CEO, Snuggwugg”]Leadership is the ability to guide others (without force) into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished.” [/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Stan Kimer, president, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer”]Effective leadership is providing the vision and motivation to a team so they work together toward the same goal, and then understanding the talents and temperaments of each individual and effectively motivating each person to contribute individually their best toward achieving the group goal. [/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Daphne Mallory, family business expert, The Daphne Mallory Company”]Leadership is the art of serving others by equipping them with training, tools and people as well as your time, energy and emotional intelligence so that they can realize their full potential, both personally and professionally. [/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Kathy Heasley, founder and president, Heasley & Partners”]Leadership is being bold enough to have vision and humble enough to recognize achieving it will take the efforts of many people — people who are most fulfilled when they share their gifts and talents, rather than just work. Leaders create that culture, serve that greater good and let others soar [/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Larry Garfield, president, Garfield Group”]In my experience, leadership is about three things: To listen, to inspire and to empower. Over the years, I’ve tried to learn to do a much better job listening actively, making sure I really understand the other person’s point of view, learning from them, and using that basis of trust and collaboration to inspire and empower. [It’s about] setting the bar high, and then giving them the time and resources to do great work.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Dan Schoenbaum, CEO, Redbooth”]I define leadership as knowing when to be in front to lead and guide a team during the journey, and when to step back and let others take the lead. Much like an athlete who knows exactly what position to move to on the field at any given time, a true business leader understands the delicate balance of how to help others become leaders, fuel career ambitions, then give them the chance to shine.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Kurt Uhlir, CEO and co-founder, Sideqik”]Too many people view management as leadership. It’s not. Leadership comes from influence, and influence can come from anyone at any level and in any role. Being open and authentic, helping to lift others up and working toward a common mission build influence. True leadership comes when those around you are influenced by your life in a positive way.[/su_quote] [su_quote cite=”Darlene Tenes, founder and designer, CasaQ 5 Leadership Weaknesses and How to Fix Them “]Leadership is when someone is willing to stand up front to be either the target or the hero to take responsibility for the success or failure of a given goal. Not everyone has the guts to be a leader and the personal risks that they may encounter.[/su_quote]