You've probably heard the proverb that says "If you want to fast, go alone; if you want to go far go together." Most often, the greatness in a great team starts from the leader, the one who sets the standards.
In my new book, The Leadership Gap: What Comes Between You and Your Greatness, I illustrate what it takes to be a great leader.
Much of it concerns how not to get stuck spinning your wheels with skills that may have been useful in the past but are no longer relevant to your life or leadership. Part of that adaptation is learning to lead great teams.
Here are 20 of the most powerful habits you can use to steer your team to greatness.
1. Give them the freedom to use their talents. The best leaders step aside and allow those on their team to do what they do best. Control leads to compliance, but autonomy leads to engagement--and, in return, unleashing greatness.
2. Give them permission to make mistakes. Make sure your people know it's better to fail than to be timid. If you are going to create great teams, coach those you lead that mistakes are part of the process--and they have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.
3. Guide them to work together toward a compelling vision. Working toward a common vision is the beginning of progress for any team, and a sure sign that they're on the road to success. When your team learns to work together and not as a group of individuals pulling in different directions, things start to find meaning. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you work together toward a shared compelling vision.
4. Show up as the leader and develop leaders within. As the leader, you'll find that your own habits ripple out to your team--so show up as a leader and lead by example. Make sure that what you say is congruent with what you do. Then take the next step by encouraging your team to step into their own leadership. Give every team member the ability to move into a suitable leadership role by empowering and encouraging them.
5. Give them what they need to be successful. There's a simple way to find out what your team needs: ask them. You may not always be able to give them everything they want, but you can always work hard to make sure they have everything they need.
6. Create an environment of fun and enjoyment. Everyone performs better when they are able to relax and are having a good time. Fun is the element that allows people to make it through the difficult tasks and overwhelming deadlines, and the best leaders know how to make it work without compromising the team's work ethic or commitment to excellence.
7. Model accountability and teach responsibility. Be the kind of leader people can trust to follow through on everything you say. Great leaders know they need to develop a reputation of being true to their word. It tells others they can count on you and shows the kind of behavior you expect.
8. Be decisive and purposeful. Decisions need to be made on a constant basis--and thriving teams with great leaders know how to act decisively and with purpose. Growth and success are contingent on determined action; procrastination and perfectionism will consistently slow everything down. The best leaders have the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.
9. Don't underestimate the power of EQ. It can be hard to understand, but EQ is just as important as IQ. If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you're not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships--then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far with your team or leadership.
10. Teach them that everything is hard before it's easy. Encourage your team to persist until something happens. Remember that they will never know their limits until they're pushed to the edge. Great leaders know that when you push people to their limits, you are teaching them to always go further. When you exceed your limits enough, you realize that there really are no limits.
11. Give them something to learn and grow on. The best teams, like the best leaders, are never stagnant. Build plenty of opportunities for your team members to learn and grow--whether it's a class, a conference, or even a reading group or lunchtime seminar series.
12. Show them fearlessness and encourage them to be brave. As a leader, you need to show your team fearlessness and encourage them to be brave, to take chances, to go out on a limb. Great leaders coach and teach their team--they are right there with them, not on the sidelines screaming and instilling fear but showing them fearlessness and encouraging bravery within them.
13. Earn their respect and give them yours. The way to unleash greatness in your team is to both show them respect and give them reason to respect you. Mutual respect is critical to any team, so set an example by treating everyone you encounter with respect.
14. Admit that you don't have all the answers. Transparency is important, and so is showing your human side. Let your team see that leadership doesn't mean having all the answers--or pretending to. Instead, focus on leading everyone toward greatness by showing them the benefits of collaborative problem solving.
15. Create win-win situations. The highest level of success comes not from beating others out but from creating win-win solutions. Everyone benefits from little gains along the way, and the more opportunities you create, the bigger the benefit.
16. Be agile and flexible. Great leaders embrace agility and honor flexibility, because they know that things are constantly changing and flexibility is a fundamental requirement for leadership. Being an agile and flexible leader aligns with the need for your team to be collaborative and cooperative, and it aligns and empowers teams to hold those qualities.
17. Get personal as you are being professional. Building a great team means building a personal relationship with each member of your team. It doesn't have to be a close friendship, but a recognition of people as fully developed human beings and not just team members who get the job done. Make sure you spend some time getting to know them, show them that you genuinely care about them and have their best interests in mind. When you return, you'll have a team that's ready to unleash their greatness.
18. Be honest and encourage candor. A great leader is honest; they encourage their teams to be transparent and speak with candor. Especially when things go wrong, it is important that everyone feel that they can speak with honesty. honesty leads to be problems being dealt with and difficulties being solved. Honesty is the best policy.
19. Be accessible and available: Part of being a leader involves being there for your team. If they have a question or need advice, make sure it's easy for them to access you. With mobile email and cell phones there is no reason your team shouldn't be able to get in touch with you when they need to.
20. Consistently praise them and always appreciate them. If you want a great team, if you want happy people, you have to praise them and acknowledge them and praise them some more. When you let your team know you're aware of what they can be and what they can become, that is when you can begin reaping the benefit of their growing greatness.
If you want to unleash greatness in your team, learn more from my new book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness.