Years ago I got in great shape doing a workout called P90X.
Every day I would allow this maniac fitness guru on the video screen to torture me for a solid hour.
While I was in pretty good shape to start, this took my fitness to the next level. I was able to do more pull-ups, push-ups, cardio and jump-squats than what I thought humanly possible. How I looked, felt and moved improved.
One thing I learned in that program was that the effectiveness of my workouts could be quickly sabotaged if I had a poor diet. The quality of the food I ate mattered as much as (if not more) than the intensity of the workouts I did.
In coaching hundreds of leaders, perhaps the most common tension we coach through pertains to teams.
All of us would love to build better and stronger teams.
Most leaders I find are willing to do the hard work to get their teams stronger. Like me with my workouts, they’re not afraid to sweat a little to improve.
However, old habits are hard to break.
Those same leaders often have some tendencies that sabotages their team building as quickly as a donut undermines a good workout.
In my experience coaching over the years, I have noticed five distinct tendencies that tend to sabotage team building:
Leading Others at the Neglect of Leading Ourselves
As the leader goes, so goes the organization.
If you are the leader, the bad news is that you are the lid. The good news? You are the lid!
We must spend an inordinate amount of time working on ourselves in order to lead ourselves to the next level.
In fact, I see so many leaders focus more on leading the team or conquering the next mountain rather than keeping themselves healthy. This leads to…
- Lost passion for what got us started leading in the first place
- Unceasing busyness that leaves us feeling frantic or overwhelmed
- Risk of crashing or burning out from not addressing blind spots
It’s easier and lazier to manage everyone else rather than to take responsibility to lead ourselves.
But, the bottom line is: Leaders go first.
That means the #1 thing you owe your team is to lead yourself well.
Want to build better teams? If you get better the whole team will get better.
Responding Rather Than Initiating
f I simply react and respond to requests and email inboxes, two things will certainly happen:
- I will do the urgent, but…
- I will neglect the important.
First do the things that are crucial for your role and that which produces the highest return on investment.
The urgent tactical things come second.
Something as practical as turning your smartphone off for a period of time every day can help!
Managing Rather Than Monitoring
There’s a big difference between managing and monitoring.
When I manage…
- I become entangled in the minutia
- I am involved in every decision
- I am involved in the details
There’s a big difference in managing and leading.
Leaders empower others to achieve more than they thought possible, check in regularly to monitor progress and debrief and coach.
Inviting vs Recruiting
Two and Three Star Athletes (leaders) may sign up on a card or send in a resume.
Four and Five Star Athletes (leaders) must be recruited.
Part of your job as the leader is to constantly be on the lookout for great talent and go after them.
I coach teams to adopt a “Next Man Up” mentality. Each major role needs to develop a deeper bench of 2-4 potential replacements. These upcoming leaders are learning the job, sharpening skills and getting internally prepared for the next step. Deepening the bench with the next man up keeps you in a recruiting frame of mind.
Great players aren’t looking for a position or something else to do.
More people won’t solve our problems. The right people will.
Consistently recruit great talent.
Delegating Rather Than Equipping
We can’t hire someone and then “just trust them to do their job.”
We should never just delegate tasks, but should equip leaders through consistent, training and coaching.
This requires constant feedback, both positive and corrective.
Great leaders know that being too busy to meet with our leaders is a cop-out and a lack of willingness to take responsibility for our leadership.
Your job is to equip people and build teams!
Teams work together to accomplish collective scoreboard wins.
Leadership is required to do just that.
Does all of this seem like A LOT?
It actually is a lot. Frankly, it’s too much to do alone. That’s why at CourageToLead we believe, “Every Leader Needs a Coach”…because no leader can do it all alone!