I am going to keep today's article short and to the point. I spend a lot of time writing and speaking on various aspects of leadership qualities in any environment that can drive a high-performance team to success. But at the end of the day, leaders either get things done or they don't. They develop a winning team or one that falls short.
I have succeeded and failed many times as a leader. In the military. As an entrepreneur. As a husband and father. When I reflect on what has worked and what hasn't, I can break it down to six principles that have led to positive outcomes. Sometimes not monumental success, but at least not utter failure.
Whether you are leading a team in the military, corporate world, as an entrepreneur or in your own family, great leaders must...
Be passionate. Believe in the mission with your whole heart. If you don't, the team will know it. Inspire others to think bigger, disrupt the status quo and take initiative. This is something I have always struggled with. What does it mean to inspire others? How do we know if we are accomplishing this goal as leaders? It comes down to two things: passion and leading by example.
Understand your limits. No leader can do everything or solve every problem. As leaders, we must focus on our strengths and outsource our weaknesses to other trusted team members. All high-performing teams are comprised of team members with diverse skill sets and backgrounds. They share the responsibility of winning.
Embrace what you don't know. You will not nor should not be the subject matter expert on all things. You will never have all the answers. Develop a learning culture that embraces change and the sharing of information.
Find the purpose behind what you do. Without purpose you can't inspire a team to get behind the mission and vision. Why does the team exist? What is the purpose behind your leadership model? When the team understands the "why" they are far more likely to feel connected and take initiative. My colleague Logan Marshall, founder of Toll Free Numbers says, "One effective way to motivate a team is to make them feel they are a part of something. People love to feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. If you show people that their specific assignment plays an important role in a much bigger vision, they will be motivated to do good work."
Know that execution can't happen without the team. Without a team there can be no true leadership. Great leaders take a large share of the blame when things go wrong and very little share of the victory when the team wins. They provide the team with the right information and resources, remove obstacles and know when to get out of the way.
Recognize that the path to winning may be different than the one you originally thought. Change is inevitable. Winning teams understand this and their leaders evangelize adaptation. Planning is great but plans change. Great leaders invest time and resources in preparing their team and developing the soft skills necessary for building a winning culture.