Traditional business thinking leads us to believe a founder, CEO, or executive management team can facilitate growth, create innovative ideas in a vacuum, and make all the right decisions from a boardroom.
But the future of organizational growth is shifting and I have a simple theory for this: There is too much information and opportunity for one leader.
A management team or one leader can’t keep up with all of the information or potential areas of growth for a business. To open your organization up to all these opportunities, there must be a shift for thought-leadership, innovation, ideation, and decision making from the C-Suite to teams and their leader.
This mental shift is so important because teams exist and work every day where the information is. Team leaders know how important their team is to the growth of an organization, and they refuse to do these 5 things:
A good football coach doesn’t allow a non-performing quarterback to remain the team’s starter if they aren’t performing. But many organizational leaders allow non-performers to remain on teams all the time. It just doesn’t make sense.
Mac Richard shared a story recently on the Follow My Lead Podcast where his first boss told him something that was fantastic, “I love you, and I will fire you.” Your team members need to know you are willing to replace them without performance. Business is a performance game.
We have all had that “my way or the highway” leader at some point in our career who leverages fear to crack the whip. Well, I have news for you, it’s not 1965 anymore.
To use our definition of discipline from the Welder Leader Program “To promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best.” The key word here is to choose. People have to choose to be motivated and to do the work. Your team won’t do their best work if your leadership style is based on fear.
One of the most popular things I hear from bad leaders is, “I run small team or division and my boss isn’t a visionary, so we struggle in the area of vision.” Awful mindset. Team leaders within an organization are just as responsible for having a vision of a better state than where the team is today.
Your vision for leading a team could be smaller or shorter-term than a CEO’s vision for the entire organization, but the key is to have one and keep the team focused on achieving it.
Negativity spreads like a wildfire. My friend and author Jon Gordon says, “Hang a sign so everyone can see it that says ‘no energy vampires allowed.’” Negativity absolutely crushes team performance. It’s your job to squash negativity the minute you hear it and set a precedent early and often that’s it’s not allowed on your team.
Standards are 'defining what good looks like.' One of the biggest mistakes I see leaders make is not defining clear standards for their team. They either think the standards are so obvious they shouldn’t have to communicate them or assume their people should be as motivated as they are. Both of these are wrong.
You must define the standards you want on your team in order for people to choose to meet or exceed them.
If you lead a team and find yourself struggling in any of these 5 areas, don't beat yourself up. Leadership is a journey and not a destination. You can change and improve, starting right now.
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.
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