Home > Business, Career, Inspiration, Leadership, Motivation, Success > You must lead them, Part 1 of 5

You must lead them, Part 1 of 5

This week’s blog will be divided into 5 parts.   I will explore the relationship between the leader and the team members.    This is part one of five.  Your insights are welcome.


“Hello, nice to meet you.  Follow me and I’ll show you where you’ll be working.”

Day 1;  new job, new career, new project, it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that you just stepped into a brand new world.  It’s so new you don’t even know where the restroom is just yet.

But when you walked in the door you brought something with you.  You brought you.  You brought your experience, your talent, energy and ideas.  You’re here because of those intangible skills, don’t forget that. 

Who will lead them?


If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to take stock of the skills and abilities that have brought you to this point.  This self-reflection can be a bit difficult for most people.  You need to take stock of yourself now and know that you’re here for a reason.

You are here to lead.  But the word ”lead” is more of a borderless notion than say, a dog walker.   A dog walker is very specific.  You don’t get that luxury.  To lead is to understand the mission and vision.  It is to internalize that mission and vision and then turn it into action.  The action becomes real when others are motivated and inspired towards a common goal.  Along the way to that goal, the leader helps light the way and provides reinforcement and encouragement to those who carry the load.  

To sum up leadership in a paragraph doesn’t do it justice.  Tomes of books have been written and countless hours of dialogue have been spoken about the subject.  All of that information can overwhelm those in search of just the right nugget of knowledge.  That’s what’s so great about leadership and you the leader, it’s all a little different and constantly evolving. 

Know yourself and be confident in the fact that you can and will provide a positive influence on the organization and teams you’re about to meet.  In addition to knowing yourself, the next step is to know your team members.

The team

Your team is the most vital part of this equation.  They are the ones who will collectively work the most hours and put the most sweat into the organization or project.  The  daily decisions they make, whether it be  interacting with a customer, balancing a budget or rearranging distribution patterns will affect the overall outcome.  The leader must know what makes all of these important individuals tick.  And not only that, they must respect them for what they do and their part in the process. 

On a human level, the leader is no different from those on the team.  Only the position and title is different.  The best place for a title is on the name plate of an office door.  It should stay there.  Your success as a leader will be a direct reflection of your ability to focus the entire team, regardless of position, on the common goal. 

The best way to get to know your new team is to share.  Tell them about yourself a little bit and then, simply listen.  People normally want to connect with one another.  Listen and remember the details that make each of them human.  Do they gush over a grandchild? Or do they love salsa dancing?  Do they take rock climbing trips twice a year? Or maybe enjoy cooking shows?  All of those details matter.  They are connecting points that can lead to a stronger professional connection.  The stronger the connection the better the team will become. 

I’d like to hear some of your leadership stories.  Were you the leader or the team member?  What were some of the positive traits you respected about the leader?

Knowing yourself and knowing your people are essential elements of leadership.  Tomorrow I’ll discuss putting your new team to work and how to inspire those who follow you.

  1. ChrisT
    January 31, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Leaders are everywhere! Choose wisely who you will follow.

    I strongly agree that some of the best are the ones that clearly understand who they are leading AND where their followers want to go.

    Most memorable have been the ones that made me the best I could be at what I was doing. They made me stretch beyond anything that I thought I was capable of, because they somehow knew before I did what that was. It wasn’t always a fun, easy journey, but it felt pretty good when I got there.

    Most favorite are the ones that inspired me to be the best I could be at who I am. There have been many, but the two that come to mind most prominently are my children. They are adults now and I can only aspire to be as great as they have become. I’m still working on it and they continue to inspire. (They’re also pretty good at teaching me how to use my latest, greatest technological devices 🙂

  2. January 31, 2011 at 10:56 am


    The two greatest leaders I worked for was an Army officer who is now a General and collectively, the cadets I taught during an assignment as an ROTC instructor.

    The Officer saw something in me that I didn’t. I wasn’t in a position, at the time, to affect the organization operationally and yet he used me to do so. He pushed my comfort zone well past my self imposed limits. He used me on projects that my “job description” wouldn’t EVER be used. At first I was confused but as a good Soldier I just did it. And success begat more and more “duties” along the journey, culminating with a temporary duty as second in command of a nearly two thousand person organization, effectively skipping about a dozen other capable higher ranking Officers. At first I balked but was reassured, that I was the person he wanted. It was a very eye opening experience that I was grateful to have.

    Luckily, I learned humility from my cadets. I was a bit cocky when I first started teaching. The cadets are always so bright-eyed and full of energy. They hung on my every word because they were choosing a profession that was going to encompass the greatest responsibility of all, others lives. They knew they wanted to be Officers, but didn’t know how. They were looking to me to teach them.

    It took quite a bit of reflection to make sure I was filling them with the right ideas. I was shaping the next iteration of Army leadership, on a small level, but even the young Officers can and make a huge impact for our nation.

    Their ability to make decisions can always have far flung ramification on individuals, other Soldiers, families, operations and even the nation. I’ve seen some others screw up. And that means they make CNN. You always want to stay off CNN if you screw up. So far so good.

    Teaching leadership taught me about myself is so many ways. Many of them I share here.


    • ChrisT
      January 31, 2011 at 11:09 am

      Great Story! I love your General & greatly respect your Cadets. When you stop to reflect, isn’t it amazing how we get where we’re going? Kinda makes you anxious to find out what’s next!

  3. shanonnelson
    January 31, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Yes, the most influential leaders in my life practiced what they preached, were humble and inspirational. I wanted to follow them out of inspiration not fear. 🙂

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