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The informed team player will help you to be a more valuable leader and organization. Why then does the vast majority have difficulty articulating what their companies most Important goal is?

There are not many things more deflating from an employee than to realize they have been working on the wrong thing for a period of time. However, the reality is this happens all the time.

In this second post on being a team player, the goal is to empower those leading teams to help their teams be the best they can be.

In Chris McChesney’s book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, he mentions that 85 percent of employees surveyed were not able to recall what the companies most important goal were. That is eight out of ten people working hard, but potentially on the wrong thing.

While there may be many variables that lead to this, there is a way to help combat this, by the team member staying informed. When you know what is most important in a company, this helps determine what you put your energy and focus.

1. Expectations.

Team members need their leader to help provide clarity for them. One of the greatest ways to provide this is to give them clear expectations.

Expectations, simply put, is what you expect to get from them; the work they were hired to do.

Gallup has found that half of the employees they have worked with do not know what is expected of them, so giving them clear expectations will put you in front of the pack.

2. Vision.

You can give your team members vision in three different areas:

  • A vision for the organization- Where the company is going.
  • A vision for the team or department- Where the team is going.
  • A vision for the individual team member- Where you see them going in the company.

Vision helps paint a picture of a preferred future and therefore encourages the team to work hard.

3. Time.

Your team members will need your time to stay informed.  A combination of one-on-ones and team meetings will go a long way.

What is important here is that you have a consistent time together where you will cast vision, give feedback, receive feedback, give updates on performance, and keep team members accountable to most important goals.

Keeping on top of these three keys will help your team members stay informed about what is going on in the company.

I would love to hear what are some other keys that can help your team stay informed.

In the midst of running an organization, we can all get caught up trying to keep all the plates spinning. While we are all responsible for our organization, not every area deserves equal attention.

When I was in restaurant management, I always prided myself on my personal productivity. I would go to work, and I would make sure everything was done that was necessary to keep the business going. I didn’t want anyone to ever say I wasn’t pulling my own weight.

There was an issue with this; my primary focus was on the wrong thing. Yes, things were getting done, and typically the business was doing better than when under previous management, but I was missing the thing that needed my attention the most – my team.

You have probably heard the old adage, “teamwork makes the dream work.” The problem is, many leaders fail to take care of their teams and wonder why things are not moving forward. They get their job done but wonder why the members of their team are not operating at their full capacity. We think, “they are getting paid so they are fine.” We fail to realize that people are not vending machines; money alone won’t make them operate to their full potential.

Leader, it is your job to take care of your team. Each member of your team needs someone in their corner that uniquely cares for and encourages them.

But exactly how do we do that? This can differ from place to place, but a few questions may help?
1. Who is my team?

If your organization is larger than a few handfuls of people, you will not be able to personally give attention to each person. In this case, you have to decide who will receive personal attention from you. These can include those who are heads of department, your direct reports, or those you desire to personally develop.

2. How will you care for your team?

You can also restate this, “how will you develop them?” There needs to be a change of perspective to nail this one. Instead of thinking of what is most important in our eyes, we need to discover what is significant in their eyes. Yes, they still need to do their jobs, but when our entire focus is what we can get from them, they will not be as likely to stick around. I heard someone once say, “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Caring for people can include coaching, education, training, public recognition, or private recognition. The goal of this is to make sure the person is uniquely cared for and encouraged. If you are looking for other simple ideas this article from Forbes outlines eleven ways.

3. How will I create space to care for my team?

You can’t just shove things in your calendar when they fit. You have to intentionally and consistently make space for the priorities in your business. Decide how many hours a week you will give to caring for and developing your team. If you are doing one-on-ones you may give a half hour weekly or bi-weekly for your direct reports. You may do a once a month lunch for your team. Whatever you decide to do, it should be part of your schedule.

Someone once said, “the potential of your organizations rests on the strength of its people.” Caring for and developing your people is one of the most important responsibilities you have. And it will have a great return on investment.

If you are just starting with one-on-one development start small. Pick a person or two, and tell them you want to do one-on-ones for the next 90 days. The goal is not how many people you can develop, but giving adequate time and attention to develop some with excellence.

I would love to hear how you are going to, or currently are, caring for your team.

 

Why We Is Better Than Me

Most leaders want to see their business or cause reach more people, especially if they strongly believe in its purpose and vision. We get frustrated when we don’t see the expected results and are left wondering why. Much of the time, it’s not because of a lack of desire, skill, or passion. There is something else that may be holding you back in your desire to reach the next level for your organization.

I was in my late twenties when I became the lead pastor of a church. To be honest, the ministry had been through a challenging season before I started to lead. To make matters worse, I didn’t know what I was doing.

There came a point, while I was leading, that it was “Make it or Break it” time. I knew that change needed to happen. Our organization decided to take some time to evaluate every person and every program, to make the necessary changes in order to re-launch the church.

During the evaluation process, I believe I was the one who changed the most. I realized that I could not get us to where God wanted us alone, but that it would take a team.

Looking at the life of Moses, there was a time when he was trying to complete everything himself. His father-in-law, Jethro, noticed this fallacy as we see in Exodus:

When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, ‘What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?’ Moses replied, ‘Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God.’ Exodus 18:14-15

Moses couldn’t see his mistakes because he was too busy. He was wearing himself and others out—therefore, he was unknowingly holding back progress. Moses was encouraged to find a team.

“Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to Him. Teach them God’s decrees, and give them His instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.” Exodus 18:19-22

We have a hard time letting go because of these three things:

1. We don’t think others will do as good a job. Moses probably thought he was the only one who could make rulings since he was the one to whom God spoke. He was wrong, and so are we, when we believe we are the only one who can do a decent job.

2. We are insecure. Many don’t hand over responsibility because they are afraid of others getting some of the attention. You will never attract high-capacity people if it always has to be about you.

3. We haven’t successfully delegated. The key word here is “successfully.” We may have delegated tasks creating followers, but we have not done the right thing by delegating authority, which creates leaders.

You cannot attain a breakthrough because you need help from a team. One of the first things I did was to appoint key people who could lead areas of the ministry. Now, this is still a work in progress, but much headway has been made. God brought in great leaders, and subsequently, our mission is being achieved.

I encourage you to read Exodus 18:13-27 and go over the reasons listed below that can help bring your desired breakthrough.

1. You can handle more collectively than you can individually.

2. There are many areas where others are stronger than you.

3. More people will be taken care of (i.e. more can be accomplished).

You alone may not be able to bring the breakthrough you desire, but a team working together can go further than you could imagine. If you need help in the area of delegation check out my free ebook.

Question: What do you need to delegate and who do you need to empower to accomplish that?

I’ve heard someone say, “The potential of your organizations rests in the strength of its people.”  If this is the case, we should be focused on developing our teams.

I have served in a leadership capacity for over a decade, in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. During the early years of my leadership tenure, I relied on my ability to get work done. While I did a good job at maintaining the organizations I led, they were not moving forward as I was expecting. No matter how hard I worked, I would never achieve my desired outcomes.

Looking back, the biggest issue was that I was not developing or empowering my team. King Solomon said it well, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” Not to be corny here, but I was focused on harnessing the power or me, instead of we. I was not tapping into the true power of the organization and my team.

Fast forward a decade and I have become much more intentional at developing those around me. Here are a few simple things I have learned along the way, which helped to develop my team.

1. Coaching Your Team. I believe strongly in coaching your team. I meet every other week with every individual who directly reports to me for their personal development. I learned this from Building Champions.

They start by completing either a life plan or business plan, which serves as a basis for their personal development. These documents include the goals they have set for themselves in their personal and professional lives. Your job is to encourage them and keep them accountable to achieve their goals.

They send you an email 24-48 hours before we meet, answering:

  • Big wins since our last meeting
  • Challenges/obstacles that you’re facing
  •  Key topics we need to discuss
  •  Decisions we need to make

Team members leave these meetings with an action item(s) to complete. During your next meeting, you can ask them about their progress. This built-in accountability benefits both them and you and helps you to develop your team.

I have used the services of coaches for years, and our team would love the opportunity to come alongside you through coaching. Besides creating a plan for your personal and professional life, we can set up a coaching program for your team.

2. Conferences. Get your team out of the office, and get them into an environment where they are inspired together. Yes, you can listen to podcasts or watch leadership videos at work, but there is something about getting out of the office. Mark Batterson is known for saying, “A change of place, plus a change of pace, equals a change of perspective.”

It amazes me how a team member hearing the same thing from someone else causes them to “get it.” In a conference setting, your team will be inspired to see what is possible and hear from some of the best leaders in your industry.

3. Empowering your Team. If we never give people a chance to step up to the plate, they will never develop their swing. We have to give the eagles in our organizations a chance to fly, or they may simply go somewhere else.

To truly empower people, we have to give away responsibilities and the authority to accomplish them. We may have delegated tasks, creating followers; but often, we have not done the right thing by delegating authority to create leaders.

You may have heard the adage, “It takes teamwork, to make the dream work.” The potential is in your team, and as a leader, you are the one that can draw it out of them.

 

What is one step you can take today to develop your team? Is there anything else you could add to this list?
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