If you want to achieve more for yourself, to do more for your firm, or to rise to the top, teamwork will always beat what you can do with your two hands.

And any team, no matter how talented its superstars or how well supplied, runs on support from its leader. Without it, they'll falter. With it, the most mediocre individuals can collectively produce greatness.

The value of support

Think of the times you've achieved most with a team. How did the leader interact with the team? Did you get what you wanted when you needed it, even if that meant time alone?

Think of the times you worked on teams and things fell apart. What did your leader do? Did he or she resolve conflict or exacerbate it?

A short list of ways you can support your team

What your team needs at any time depends on the needs of the moment. You have to ask. Nothing replaces empathy, communication, sensitivity, and experience.

But some needs show up a lot. The more you know what to expect, the more you'll hear what they need when they tell you.

Here is a short list of needs you can support them on (including giving them space and solitude).

  1. Material resources (money, supplies, food, etc)
  2. Protection from others wanting their labor and time--"Air cover"
  3. Conflict management
  4. Connections to others outside the team
  5. Expectation of success
  6. Vision
  7. Feeling understood on their motivation and passion
  8. Vacations
  9. Re-inspiration
  10. Motivation
  11. Standards to meet
  12. Recognition for their effort
  13. A shoulder to cry on
  14. A sense of urgency
  15. More time
  16. Less time
  17. Clarity
  18. Silence
  19. Solitude
  20. Systems (computers, schedules, etc)
  21. Advice
  22. Space to work
  23. Material reward
  24. Non-material reward
  25. Listening
  26. Accountability
  27. Privacy
  28. A kick in the butt
  29. Ownership

Next steps

What does your team need?

How can you find out?

How much more will your teammates deliver when you deliver it?