Team leadership is artistry created at the interface of what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and who is willing to work together to accomplish an enduring, sustainable outcome.
No matter how many professional certifications you receive and training courses you engage in, there’s no guarantee you will lead successfully. There’s no guarantee that each team you lead will follow you successfully.
Have you been there? I know I have.
Your focus is creating a system of team belief in which each member leverages their own self-belief for the greater good of your customers and, potentially, society as a whole.
Successful team leadership is an art form. It is elusive and rare.
Even if you are a successful project manager or sales team manager, not all team efforts create magical experiences and home run output. Successful team leadership involves more than getting your project completed on time and under budget. It is more than having each team member meet their sales quota for the quarter.
There’s always an intangible involved. That’s where artistry is – or isn’t – created.
That intangible is trust. You and your team trust each other. You have each other’s backs. You challenge each other in your team pursuit of excellence. You are continuously engaged.
You don’t make assumptions. Ever.
The art of team leadership is a messy business. Having a track record of successful team leadership means you have fallen flat on your face, most of the time in front of the team you are leading, and your team becomes stronger through your collective admission of failure.
Successful team leadership never considers complacency and repetitiveness as options. Any and every project deserves improvement over the last iteration of specifications. Improvement is the result of mindful reflection during the project and brutally honest post-mortems after.
The value created through successful team leadership is palpable to your internal colleagues as well as your customers. People can feel and sense when your team “knows what it knows.” They listen to what you have to say. They will take risks because they know you do the same on their behalf.
Your successful team leadership makes everyone around you more successful. Team DNA evolves due to your collective experiences as team members of worth.
Leadership is not a matter of following a recipe from a team leadership cookbook.
Successful team leadership creates a continuously evolving Playbook for collaboration. You focus on what is certain, what is unknown and what is variable. You all have the courage to admit when it is time to make the case for change instead of enduring the status quo.
Have you been part of a successful team in the past? Once you have, your expectations for team leadership are changed forever. I know mine were.
Babette Ten Haken started out her career as a scientist. Early on, she was asked to bring clarity to the chaos of stalemated conversations between engineers, sales, IT, quality, legal and marketing folks. She focuses on building collaborative, innovative and profitable teams who are focused on excellence in the hand-off of strategy for execution. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
Image courtesy of Ion Choisea, 123rf.com.