Does your team seem frustrated and not as productive as you’d like? Most teams are not producing what they are capable of because of poor leadership or a lack of unity on the team.  Are you ready to deal with this and transform them into a highly productive and high performing team?  Recently, I heard a podcast interview of a very wise leader, Shane Duffey, who is a C-Suite leader in his organization.  He described five words he considers when leading his staff.  These are actually behaviors to practice in your everyday leadership. Presented below are his key concepts along with my building upon them.

  1. Teach – How often as leaders do we assume that our staff knows what they are doing only to get frustrated when they are not performing up to your expectations? A leader’s job is to teach, not necessarily about how to do something; rather their job is to teach the why.  As you teach, you can think out loud and ask lots of questions to allow your team member(s) to think not just about the task, rather why the task is important and how the task or project connects to a greater organizational vision.
  2. Equip – Your next job as the leader is to provide your team members with all the information, authority, and financial resources needed to be able to deliver on the assignments you have outlined. In equipping, the effective leader is available to discuss ideas and help overcome obstacles.  They also provide value to the team members by giving perspective the team members might not ordinarily think of; by this you are helping the team members expand their own thinking.
  3. Listen – No doubt, you have heard the saying that the people doing the job know more about what will work than the leader knows.  This is true, so you need to listen to them and create an inviting (not intimidating) environment to promote such a dialogue. You need to mine the gold that is in their head.  They likely have insights you are not aware of; your role is to pull those insights out so they can be validated and built upon.  Practice proactive listening where you ask curiosity based and open ended questions.
  4. Manage – Yes, a leader’s job at times is to manage what is being worked on so the right things get done.  You have responsibility for utilizing the human and financial assets that have been entrusted to you.  This doesn’t mean that you micro-manage your team members (the really high performers will most assuredly leave if this is a regular habit of yours).  It does mean that you put appropriate controls in place so that you are able to keep track of progress to ensure the goal will be met on time and within budget.
  5. Care – You have heard the expression, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This applies to your behavior as a leader.  You must demonstrate the sheer joy you receive when you see people accomplishing more than you could do on your own.  Your team members should never wonder about your vision.  They should experience real encouragement from you in the form of appropriate praise and confidence that you trust their abilities and character to get the job done.

Truly successful and impactful leadership is not exercised with a “one size fits all” approach. In order to get the most out of each member of the team, the most successful leaders know they need to adjust their style and approach to what is best for each individual team member.

Question: Which of the above behaviors have worked for you?  You can leave your comments below.