ENGAGE SERIES: Collaborate - Team


In this video we're talking about the team in regard to collaboration and the desire to create an engaging environment. Which sounds kind of redundant. Of course, you'll need a team if you're going to collaborate.

Chris Hadfield said this. “Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high, and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others' success, and then standing back and letting them shine.”

I really like this quote because it resonates with my experience. This kind of leadership is not usually a natural one. It is something we have to think about if we are too lead effectively.

A significant frustration that is often shared with me by many team members in different organisations, is that they have so much to contribute, and yet are not listened to, or even asked their opinion. There is so much productivity left on the table as leaders continue to be prideful; not willing to have the input of others. This is not only, not effective, it's incredibly frustrating for the capable individuals we often surround ourselves with. If you have gifted talented people leaving your organisation maybe this is your issue. Steve Jobs said we hire talented people not to tell them what to do, but so they can tell us what to do.

What we want is a team of individuals who are diverse in their thinking and their experience, so they will bring to bear different perspectives on opportunities and issues. If we get that right, we have unlocked the latent potential of many years of experience. That can lead to a team that is more innovative, effective. If we don't get this right, we literally limit our growth and frustrate the people around us.

I know what it's like to be a leader and the pressure that can come with that. But I also know that if we lower our guard, be willing to be humble, ask before we make a call, bring our best minds together, and wrestle with issues and opportunities, we will be so much better for it. ‘We’ are so much more effective than ‘me’!

The principle here is that a team can be more than the sum of the individuals.

The Canterbury rugby club has a unique reputation in New Zealand as it is able to meld a group of individuals into a high performing team, often historically beating teams of more capable individuals, much to the chagrin of those further north.

Here’s something that you can do to practically apply this principle. Start to meet together regularly, not only for information sharing but also for cross functional brainstorming and updates. Lead the individuals but also create opportunity for your team to interact creatively and to understand each other’s roles.

If you’re a leader I just want to challenge you for a moment, how well do you know your team? Do you know what makes them tick? What are their aspirations? What really motivates them? If we don't know our team well, then we will tend towards micromanagement. “I love to be micromanaged” said nobody ever. If we're not mindful of an individual’s agenda we’ll end up with low engagement, and therefore low productivity. But, if we can connect with those around us, in a way that is authentic, and releases them into their passions and their desires, aligned to their talents we will create engagement and high productivity. Plus, you get to have a bit more fun in a more positive environment, whilst achieving a better commercial outcome. It's about leveraging the latent potential and collective experience of your team and growing commitment.

"Individual commitment to a group effort; that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." According to Vince Lombardi. I think he’s right. Lead yourself, your individuals, and your team, and collaborate for engagement, you’ll be glad you did!

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