Legendary and former Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi never had a losing season and was once quoted as saying, “Leaders are made, they are not born.”
Leading Your Team
The path to success in any large organization is built on the successes of the entire team. It’s extremely rare today that one leader can single handedly spearhead an organization to success without the contributions of others. Several things not only motivate teams but also inspire confidence. One is to grant team members the freedom to be creative and innovate, but only after setting boundaries. Attempting to set the height of the bar after the fact risks the loss of momentum and trust.
Similarly, in keeping one’s mind open by encouraging a free flow of ideas fosters imagination and inventiveness. History has shown that companies pioneering a new product command a larger share of the market over those who arrive on the scene weeks and even months later.
As a leader, it’s important that you remain positive, but honest, respectful and clear at the same time in your feedback. What might help in offering feedback to a new idea or proposal is to write the punchline first and then add bullets after that that expand on your rationale.
Leaders need to become better acquainted with each team member, their interests, values. Not only does doing so help foster more enthusiasm but it also helps to better understand how and why some ideas and suggestions are inspired.
Don’t disregard ideas that don’t work or fit into your current project. They could be viable and valuable in future ones.
You may get publicly credited for success, but as in sports, a win is a team victory. After all, a good running back is usually successful in breaking out into the open if and when a team member opens up a whole. But who gets the credit for the long run? Expressing gratitude to the entire team is important, even if only one or a few members pulled most of the weight.
If you’re a warm and fuzzy person, that’s great! If not, recognize and work on improving your social skills. Workers will listen to you because of your position but they’ll admire and respect you if they perceive you as an engaging team member who also cares about them.
We learn from our own life experiences but also learn a lot of other things by participating in team sports. Things like goal setting and overpowering adversity are two things one learns from team sports. But probably the most important lesson coming out of team sports is recognizing that success often arises out of adversity. New teams don’t usually experience a winning season for a few years nor should an astute CEO expect the same of his/her team.
The Rest of the Quote
If you’ve incorporated all or most of the above, you’ll understand the remainder of Lombardi’s quote which ends: “They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
As a leader, these attributes are also a worthwhile goal.