There’s an old adage that states, “Great leaders don’t tell you what to do; they show you how it’s done.” It’s a point we try to strongly emphasize anytime we work with advisors looking to evolve from Lone Ranger to Leader™.
As team leader, it’s your responsibility to model the behaviors, habits and attitudes that will foster a more cohesive and interdependent team. Often, these are behaviors and habits that may not be a natural part of your team’s DNA. Therefore, they must be cultivated through repetition and practiced by all team members, especially you.
The following are four quick rules that can help you become the type of leader who leads by example.
Ivory towers are for academics
As leader, you to need to understand and commit to engaging in the social aspects of team development. Forming personal not just professional bonds with your team members strengthens everyone’s commitment to each other and engenders a deep sense of team pride and belonging that drives individuals to go above and beyond.
Collaboration creates connection
Teams become particularly cohesive when they seek to achieve objectives that are larger than any one individual could accomplish; where their collective energy and capabilities are essential to reach a goal that otherwise might not be within their grasp. Be on the lookout for opportunities to work together on planning, problem-solving and decision-making. It will serve to minimize isolation and help develop greater intimacy, connection and constructive thinking.
Be constructive rather than critical
You’re going a mile a minute in an effort to serve your existing clients while simultaneously striving to bring new business on board. It’s therefore only natural that you would focus your feedback to team members on addressing problems that arise and correcting behaviors or actions you perceive as potential dissatisfiers. We all tend to forget the incredible power and potential that positive feedback can foster. The simple process of recognizing small accomplishments and showing appreciation for a team member going above and beyond will build confidence, commitment and belief both individually and collectively.
Model a learner’s mindset
Team development is a journey that must evolve over time with great effort, attention and continuous team learning that supports and encourages both individual and collective growth. But that openness to new directions, fresh ideas, and innovative processes and procedures starts with you as team leader. Don’t rest on your laurels and let complacency slip in. Be inquisitive, be objective about what’s working, what’s not and what you might do differently. It’s an attitude that will quickly take hold and become infectious.
These are all relatively simple yet powerful steps that can help you generate greater business momentum, reinforce the behaviors, attitudes and skills you value, and encourage team members that they are on the right path to mutual success.
Coaching Questions from this article:
Take a moment to reflect on your leadership style. How actively engaged are you with each individual team member? What actions can you take to increase and enhance those interactions?
Actively identify where collective thinking or collective work could be more powerful than individual thinking or individual work. How can you go about turning those into opportunities for team collaboration rather than solo work?
Think about the current interpersonal dynamics of your team. What actions can you take to break down existing silos and encourage more interdependence?
What actions can you take to try to be more encouraging and constructive rather than corrective with your team?