Home > Business, Career, Inspiration, Leadership, Motivation, Success > Leading your team to the top, part 2 of 5

Leading your team to the top, part 2 of 5

This is part two of  a weeklong exploration of leadership.   I will explore the relationship between the leader and the team members.  Your insights are welcome.

The conference room is full and all eyes are fixed on you.  Most are sitting and waiting to hear your thoughts about the team, product or company.  The next few things that come out of your mouth are vitally important.  Or your hope is that your team finds it important.  How do you ensure that what you say is transformed into positive feelings and action?

The leader needs to provide and describe a vision of the future for the project or company.  This vision needs to be crystal clear to everyone.  It will become the overarching focus and the ultimate goal of everyone on the team.  It could be to increase sale, improve customer service or introduce a new product.  Whatever it is, it is your job to get that point across.

The view is amazing up here. Come on!

So what?

So you have a vision, so what?  I’d like to be the King of England.  I can envision that.  The difference is, your vision needs a plan and steps to get there.  I cannot be the King of England.  But you can succeed at the task at hand.  And your vehicle for success is going to be the team.  Your team.  The team that you’ve gotten to know and who knows you is going to reach the top of the mountain to realize the vision.  Your vision will, over time, become their vision too.  You and the team are going to reach the top of the mountain because 1) they soon will believe that something great is at the top 2) you are going to inspire them to get there.

Inspire is a big, weighty word.  You need to ask yourself  how exactly you’re going to do that.  Do you throw bonuses at them for reaching certain milestone?  Maybe.  But money fades.  So do other tangible incentives.  They all fade over time.  If your team is paid adequately and you reward them along the way you’ll get some success but what if that wasn’t an option.  How do you inspire them to work for something bigger than a paycheck?  You need to show them that what they do matters on a larger scale.  And that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and share the burden with them.

They need to believe that what you are leading them to matters.  It needs to matter because their efforts will produce something new and exciting and great.  Your own personal energy and belief in the task, project or company needs to be instilled in each team member.  They need to feel proud of themselves for what they are doing and what they are will ultimately achieve.

The steps ahead

If you have successfully outlined the vision to your team, and they are filled with energy to climb the mountain with you, you are on your way.   Be sure to continue to encourage them through along the way.  Don’t forget to recognize intermediate achievements that are essential to the long term vision.  Be the biggest cheerleader for your team.  I’ll write more about this tomorrow.

For those that need extra motivation or clarification, be sure to engage them often and directly with positive words of encouragement.  It’s inevitable that some on your team will take longer to buy in.  That’s fine, because remember, you’re the new person in this equation.  Trust from the team is earned over time, not simply given because of your position.

And one last bit of advice for you, the leader.  Don’t forget to enjoy the journey and smile along the way.  It’s not always going to be easy or fun.  Your team is watching what you do as well as listening to what you say.  Some days will be tougher than others, so keep a steady disposition in the face of adversity.  This will speak volumes, even when you don’t utter a word.

  1. February 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Matt, Your writing style creates strong images which is what the leaders need to do. Great match of your style to what you are trying to develop in others.

    Nice job!

  2. February 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Thank you Kate. I want to boil down some important points to the readers in each post. Sometimes a problem, especially involving leading, can seem so complex. I try to make elephant sized problems turn into morsel sized insights.


  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: