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Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader

Some say great leaders are born, not made. While there are some born leaders, the majority have spent time honing their leadership skills through extensive practice. Everyone can lead so, if you’re still learning to be one, you need to know the five vital ingredients to be a highly effective leader in your teams.

1. Trust
High performing leadership teams have a trust built from knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, trust built from having real conversations about real issues and working together to solve problems. Without trust people wear masks, hiding how they really feel about issues. They hold back, not wanting to commit in case they don’t have the support of their peers.

2. Conflict
This might come as a surprise, but the second most important ingredient for leadership teams is conflict. I’m not talking about yelling and screaming or emails with cc’s and bcc’s – these are signs that the team is not effective at handling conflict. Whenever there exists two or more perspectives, there WILL be conflict and people need to be comfortable with this because it leads to much better strategic thinking. A lack of effective conflict leads to some people behaving aggressively and others passively leading to resentment and poor performance. Effective teams use assertive and authentic communication to share what they think, feel, need, want, or believe in a way that encourages others to share what they think, feel, need, want, or believe so that consensus can be reached.

3. Commitment
With effective conflict, leadership teams can reach commitment. I like to use the “5L scale” to see how close to consensus a team is: Love it, Like it, Live with it, Lament it and Loathe it. If any of the team members are at the still at the last 2 L’s more discussion is required. A committed team has everyone working the plan, no fence sitters or saboteurs. If the decision in a meeting causes you any discomfort, you must argue as strongly against that decision according to the level of discomfort you feel.

4. Accountability
With a commitment comes accountability. Self-leaders are responsible for themselves and accountable to the goals they set and the behaviors they agree to. In a highly effective leadership team members hold themselves and each other accountable for the actions they agreed to. Performance is visible to each member of the team and each member can ask each other, “Am I doing what I agreed to?” and expect healthy feedback.

5. Focus on Results
The final ingredient is a focus on results. Effective teams know why they are working towards a goal, how they will go about it and what success looks like. This flows naturally from accountability, which takes care of the ‘how’ and in turn, takes care of the ‘what’. The team shold constantly ask, “Is what we are doing taking us closer to our results?” Once they achieve any milestone, outcomes must be celebrated!

So, in summary, the formula for effectively leading teams goes like this:
Trust allows effective conflict
Conflict leads to commitment
Commitment facilitates accountability
Accountability creates a focus on results
And results build trust

Andrew Bryant considers it a privilege and pleasure to work with teams and he’ll be at this year’s the National Achievers Congress in Singapore. Get the help you need to lead yourself and your teams more effectively when you sign up for the National Achievers Congress here!