Here are what I believe are four musts to build a successful team / organization / family.
A word of caution; they do not come easy and you will have to refine them to meet your culture. Of course there other components, like technical and job specific skills, but you’ll be hard pressed to have a high performing team without the presence of these elements.
Use this as a guide to help you lead your team forward.
1. A Strong Leader and Strong, Pervasive Leadership.
A person or a group of people, who are honest, forthright, markedly visible and approachable, demonstrates strong leadership daily. Charisma is not leadership (although it can be a helpful tool to quickly gain the acceptance of an audience). Effective leaders share a passion for, and a record of, accomplishments. They fulfill their insatiable need to be out in the field regularly. When not actually walking on the frontlines, they talk with people who work there, both in town hall style meetings and in a one on one setting.
Remember: Leadership is there to serve the people.
2. A Repeatable Compelling Vision and Sense of Purpose.
If possible, there should be a clear and concise singular vision. It must be memorable and repeatable so that every message, action and strategy that the organization tackles can easily support the purpose. It should be worded and promoted, in a way that others can understand, support, and generate excitement towards innovative ways to achieve the purpose.
Remember: Leadership is about inspiring people and waking them up, not tiring them and putting them to sleep.
3. A Sense of Overwhelming Optimism.
The compelling vision declares the team’s place and the good that they wish to do. Living that is what creates a legacy. Knowing that is what helps create positivism. That positive approach has to be all encompassing. Tolerance of rampant apathy or negativism is a weakness. If optimism is not visible on your team, alarms should sound. This doesn’t forego the crucial role of devil’s advocate and challenging viewpoints – but to leave negative feelings or remarks unchecked, even in simple transactions, is to enable a contagion. Counter the virus with positive encouragement and recognition.
Remember: Pollyanna behavior can be just as dangerous, but negativity is an acid that corrodes everything.
4. A Regular Diet of Meaningful Recognition.
Positive reinforcement, thanks and praise are the nutritional components of a healthy team, the helium that lifts the organizational balloon to new heights. It is a currency that many organizations are afraid of spending; yet, its value can be limitless. Without it, or withholding it until the perfect moment, can result in at worst, a bankruptcy of human potential, and at best, leave people with a feeling of emotional deficiency. All people want to do a good job, regardless of which motivations they declare to be driven by; the rewards of learning new experiences, enhancing important relationships or legacy building. People will thank leaders who notice what they have already contributed with even greater performance.
Remember: Many people think about thanking people for a job well done – but thinking it is not the same as doing it. The best of intentions are still only intentions. To make an impact you must actually do something.
For more tips and strategies, check out the “How to Stay When You Want to Quit; Strategies to get over yourself.” resource page: