Team Leadership

Team Building Leadership

A common question is, “How can I motivate these people?” The manager or business owner asking the question expects an answer which reflects on some secret wisdom hidden away from the general population by the wizards on business theory. They want the “silver bullet” to change people from low productivity to outstanding performance. The true answer involves the skills anteam buildingd attributes of the employees and the leadership abilities of the manager. Here are some leadership principles worth understanding.right people:

  • Authority versus Power
  • Putting the right People in the right Jobs
  • Create the Environment

Authority versus Power In Leadership

Authority is rights granted to you as the result of your position in the organization or team. You may be the owner of the business, the executive director of the organization, the general manager, department head or group supervisor. Authority does give you the right to hire, fire, promote and give pay raises. Those rights may be powerful motivators but, in most cases, not sufficient to sustain a highly productive organization. For example, studies have shown that  increases an employee’s salary may provide immediate motivation, but after a period of time, as short as three days, that motivation fades back to the base line level.

Power is the capacity or ability to influence the behavior of others. Much can be said about how one acquires power. It starts with a trust developed with the others in the group. Empathy and an understanding of the needs and skills of each team member is also important. Where authority is granted, power is earned.

A good example of this comes from a friend who is a Baptist minister. Of course, the minister is granted the authority by the congregation to run the affairs of the church. He is the leader by authority. A new minister must not take this authority lightly, but spend time learning who might be the people in the congregation who are the leaders and have the power. The exercise of authority with establishing power can often lead to the need to find a new church.

Putting the Right People in The Right Jobs

One sign of leadership weakness is the statement, “I don’t understand why people don’t work like I do?” Well, isn’t it unfortunate that everybody is not like you?  Please accept the fact that different people have different skills and knowledge. They also are motivated in different ways by a different set of values. Not everyone is equipped to be the quarterback on the team. Some are best equipped to be the linebacker.

Over the last 10 years, we have administered and analyzed dozens of personality assessments. They have measured an individual’s motivational values, perception of the world, and personality types.  As of this date, we have never observed two people with the same assessment results and expect never to make such an observation.

You need to find within a group who is the best suited for a given responsibility. Who is the most methodical for they might best lead the taking of inventory? Who is the most comfortable in dealing with people for they should handle the front desk? Who is the most artistic for they might handle the graphics used in promotion? It’s all about matching the people to the requirements of the position.

Creating the Environment Through Leadership

There is an old German saying which translates to, “The fish starts to stink from the head.” It is team buildingquite common among managers that we underestimate the influence we have over those who we work with.

A colleague of mine was responsible for a small manufacturing operation in Pennsylvania. He was the plant manager of a one shift operation with approximately 20 factory employees. One day over a cup of coffee, he related to me this story. As part of his daily routine, he would begin each day with a tour of the plant during which he said good morning to everyone, stopping to discuss operational issue with a few. One day as he arrived at the plant he received and early morning telephone call from the company Vice President. He took what turned out to be a rather lengthy call, and upon completion, went on with his daily activities, never touring the plant.  Several hours later, one of the people from the factory was on a break and came to see the plant manager. “Is something wrong, we didn’t see you this morning?”  This routine behavior had become an indication to those in the plant of the plant manager’s interest in their work and them personally.  Would that relationship be different if heonly appeared in the plant to investigate and correct issues?

Starting with the example above, let’s consider other behaviors which create a positive environment:

  • Frequent meetings with groups of employees asking for input on issues which occur within the group.
  • During meetings, being a good listener, encourage the options of others.
  • Finding reason to give praise to individuals and groups as is appropriate.
  • Making others part of making some of the decisions.
  • Having a real open door policy. Don’t just talk about it, invite others in the door.
  • Don’t have doors.

Let’s consider some behaviors which create a negative environment:

  • Arrive at work, going directly into your office and close the door.
  • Publicly or privately humiliating someone who made a mistake.
  • Communicating primarily through memos and emails with little face-to-face conversation.
  • Centering all your efforts on finding problems and corrective action.
  • Not being proactive in developing programs to improve the functions of the organization

I invite you to add to both of the lists above and then consider the favor-ability of being part of those two different groups.  Team leadership starts with you.