Whenever somebody lectures on team leadership, I am always reminded by the famous words “Teamwork makes the dream work”. The secret to achieve a dream lies in every team member with its leader. Phil Jackson, former Chicago Bulls’ coach once said. “The strength of the team is its individual member; the strength of every member is the team”. This is the real scenario in any game plan, whether it’s a basketball game or a business organization. It is in unity that every effort is directed towards victory. A shared vision and commitment are important ingredients for ethical team building.
Building a team in an ethical way is the most important lesson of leadership. The growth and development of your team members is the highest calling that a leader could have. It is the leader that gives birth to a successful team. John Maxwell defines a leader as the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. Developing a team is primarily the leader’s job. As what Rick Warren wrote in his best-selling book, “If you want to know the temperature of an organization, put the thermometer in the leader’s mouth.”
Leadership is influence. Leaders who continue to grow personally and bring growth to their team will influence many and develop a successful team around them. It’s like basketball; the better the players, the better the coach. But taking the challenge is not easy. All influential leaders have their own bad experiences in leading and developing team. The turning point for any organization is when the time comes that you have to quickly respond to the demands of your people.
Everything rises and falls on leadership. In order to build a team, there are two ways you can get others to do what you want: either you compel them, or persuade them. But a great leader possesses the influence and knowledge of persuasion. Compulsion is a method of slavery; persuasion is the way of free men. You can’t convince somebody to follow you unless you have the understanding on how to motivate them. That is part of ethical team building.
Moreover, establishing the foundation of your team or organization goes beyond “doing the right thing”. If you want to see a picture of a winning team, you have to accept these facts. First, we continually succeed only as we develop a team. I remember a Chinese proverb says, “If you are planning for one year, grow rice. If you are planning for twenty years, grow trees. If you are planning for centuries, grow men”. Second, we continually multiply only as we develop a team.
If you want to build a build a winning team, you need the following tips:
As a leader, lead by example. Leadership is not about words, it’s all about action. Walk what you talk. The best way to gain and hold the loyalty of your team is to show your interest in and care for them by your words and actions. In short, you are responsible for creating the right environment. You should be the first to believe in the ability of your members. If they have confidence in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. Integrity starts within the leader’s life.
As a leader, plan purposefully. The future of the team is conceived at the time you lay out its vision and goals through persuasion. Think and set a goal that is clear and specific. Introduce it to them and gather ideas that can contribute for the realization of that “targeted result”.
As a leader, know your people. It is a major principle to consider before you jump to anything else. How well do you know your team members? Define their respective roles to avoid “equality” and “fairness” issues. Dig up their personal agenda why they want to join the team. Then, build a friendly relationship with them. Let them feel a sense of belongingness within the group. Your people are your most appreciable asset.
As a leader, communicate with everyone. William Shakespeare once said, “Speak with comfortable words.” Share your thoughts with everyone in the team and not just on key team members. Make your criticism constructive. Be a good listener. Encourage them but not thwart them. Do not forget the compliments. When the group has done well, it is important to praise the entire effort without singling out individuals.
As a leader, give the right assistance to your team. Being a leader is giving your self to the team. You carry the largest part of the responsibility. You work out for their strengths and work on their weaknesses. You give them every chance for success.Excellent leaders add value to their people and allow them to work for something larger than themselves.