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"Individuals score points, but teams win games." - Zig Ziglar

Have you ever been part of a highly motivated team breaking through cross functional barriers with everyone wanting to assist in accomplishing a clear mission targeted at delivering clear results? That breakthrough moment when all the team members are pitching in new ideas and each of those ideas builds great content that everyone buys into to the next level of success. These "can do" euphoric moments do happen and what you are experiencing is that great feeling of being on a winning team.

This blog was sparked by the surprising global response to the following post from this past week:

  • Seven Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams Good list to keep in mind.

Some key insights from the author on the seven ways leaders destroy their teams:

  1. My Way Or The Highway Attitude - Author recommends that you "listen to your teams, involve your teams, learn from your team, and embrace the reality that the collective sum is better that the big headed my way or the highway leader"
  2. All About The Numbers - "Numbers matter, but people matter more. Focus on creating a healthy team and healthy numbers will be a natural bi-product."
  3. Talk But Don't Listen - "If people are not heard, they will cease to say the things that matter......Listen"
  4. Change Things for The Sake of Changing Things - "It's important to survey the impact, timing and necessity of change."
  5. They Just Don't Care - "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care (John Maxwell)."
  6. Focused on Pleasing the Boss - "The all consuming thoughts of wondering what the boss thinks will lead these destroyers to destroy their teams, chunk team members under the bus and not give proper credit where proper credit is due."
  7. Unwilling To Receive Candid Feedback - "Once team members realize the leadership destroyer is unwilling to receive candid feedback, they will stop giving feedback. Once team members stop giving feedback, the leadership destroyers find themselves on an island."

Wikipedia defines the following as leadership styles (*):

  • Engaging style - Also known as the 4th key practice of leadership in Dr. Stephen Cohen's article, "The Four Key Leadership Practices for Leading in Tough Times", this style focuses on the leader working in a collective approach in addressing common goals.
  • Autocratic or authoritarian style - All decision making is centralized into the leader.
  • Participative or democratic style - Sharing decision making with group members by promoting their interests/
  • Laissez-faire or free rein style - The group fends for themselves.
  • Narcissistic leadership -The leader is only interested in him / herself.
  • Toxic leadership - Someone who abuses the leader / follower relationship.

If you are a leader, depending on your particular style, the seven ways of destroying teams get highly intensified. In four out of the six leadership styles above, the impact to the individual or company from the seven ways leaders destroy teams is highly toxic.

On your journey to building winning teams, here are some leadership ideas to consider:

  • Leadership is not the leader coming on the scene. It is a leader having and bringing a clear vision to the team. To that vision, then adding clear objectives and milestones for success.
  • Passion is a key ingredient in the initial team building process. The team needs to participate in fine tuning the vision. Bringing a variety of ideas into both the vision and objectives lead to both buy-in and stronger bonds among team members.
  • Positive leaders are able to express passion both within the team and also to external audiences. The contributions of the team need to be constantly shared with the external audiences. Make it a habit to publicly highlight the achievements of your team members.
  • Globalization means that cultural sensitivity must always be part of the team building process. Take the time to understand the basics of properly engaging with diverse cultures both within the team and with external audiences.
  • The folks that report directly to you are a microcosm of your sphere of influence. In this highly interconnected and often organization matrixed world, team building transcends many physical and virtual borders.
  • Simple words or phrases such as "Thank you", How can I help you", "How could we improve" are extremely powerful on the journey to building strong teams. These words or phrases need to be conveyed both internally and externally to your sphere of influence on a regular basis.
  • Make the time to celebrate successes and leverage those moments to engage the team on discussing ideas for improvement. A monthly birthday lunch with your building, a quarterly luncheon with your core team plus extended key contributors are simple activities that builds powerful cross functional teams.
  • Create an extended team beyond your direct reports that you leverage for insight, ideas on improvements, checking progress of current strategies, and making any necessary adjustments required.
  • Aggressively ensure that all your team members share your passion in working with extended global teams. Address quickly and sternly any negative approaches to external team members.
  • Constantly re-evaluate where you are in achieving the vision and meeting the objectives. Build consensus among team members with any adjustments made to the go forward strategy.
  • At key times during the year, solicit input on potential improvements. Aggressively stack rank the potential improvements and add them to the go forward strategy.
  • Ensure extensive communication processes are in place with your core team and the folks in your sphere of influence. Communicate with passion. Bring and test new ideas from external sources to the group. Adjust your communication approach based on the best external ideas added.
  • Create of culture of action. Everyone needs to focus on how it can be done, not on the opposite. Focus the entire team and even your sphere of influence on their respective customers, e.g. winning the business, overcome internal barriers, and / or achieve the stated objectives.

Fully believe that the engaging leadership style is key to building successful lasting teams and avoiding those seven ways that destroys them. In a globalized and highly technology connected business model, it is the only model that leads to growth.

The popularity of this week's post indicates that the seven ways that leaders destroy teams are top of mind. It is much more exciting having a motivated team around you globally engaged to exceed customer expectations. Winning is a great feeling, especially when it is shared among your core and extended team members. The journey starts by focusing on the basics that build great winning teams.

The Winning Team Image


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