Think about the last team you were on where you really felt like everybody was on the same page headed towards a common goal…Whether it be a sports related team, group project at school, or your everyday work environment there’s a reason why you felt like it was a team. Most likely there was a leader of the group; a manager, coach, team lead; that identified what the expectations or goals were of the particular task at hand. Although it sounds like a no brainer, many employees come to work day in and day out without a clear sense of direction.
So why do people follow their leaders?
If I’m going to follow anyone, I’m going to make certain that the person I am following knows where he/she is going. The easiest rule of management should be to know where you are going and to ensure your team members are aware of it as well. The most successful leaders have a vision and they are an inspiration to their team members. If your team doesn’t believe you know where you are headed can you blame them for not following?
Lead by Example/Walking the Walk
Most managers have gotten to where they are by having the ability to do the job or jobs they are managing. The best coach doesn’t have to be the best player but they do need to lead by example when they are called upon. There’s nothing worse than having a manager tell you one thing then lose all credibility by doing something completely different.
Plain and simple, if I don’t trust the person I am supposed to be following I’ll be sure to be 10 steps behind the leader so I can proceed with caution. Managers/Leaders need to build a sense of trust and confidence with their team members over time. It’s not given…it’s earned…so prove it. Being transparent and relying on your team member’s strengths will get you one step closer to earning it.
Think about your team…who’s on the roster? If you turn around is anyone there? If you don’t see your people following it’s not too late to change. Identify the reasons why and start over-communicating expectations and performance standards. Remember that the 1st step in serving your customers is serving your employees.
If you are leading others and you’re lonely, then you’re not doing it right. Think about it. If you’re all alone, that means nobody is following you. And if nobody is following you, then you’re not really leading. ~John Maxwell
Daniel Park – Director of Consulting Services, Frontline Performance Group