New teams are formed every day… music bands, sports teams, school and church groups, military troops and units, business teams, organizations and companies.
As a leader in the technology industry for the last 21 years, I have led many different teams, ranging in size from 2 to 300. Yes, there are MANY factors to consider when leading teams.
We are all heavily dependent on technology, especially in the workplace. I work in healthcare, and technology is the epicenter of the transformation of the industry.
AUTHORED BY CHUCK LYLES, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER @ GUIDEIT
A good leader is always striving toward bettering themselves as an individual and approaching every task with an attitude of servitude. The only way you are going to know what your team needs from you in order to be more successful is to listen to them. Successful teams perform much better when they know they have confidence that you chose the right team to get the job done.
Listening, possessing confidence, and respect for, and in, your team are only a few traits that make up a great leader. But leaders must also work toward bettering themselves as individuals if they want their team to listen, respect, and have confidence in them. It works both ways. Leaders must not only make a call to action to their team for these qualities, but they must make a call to action for themselves which requires lifelong tuning.
Extraordinary leaders take responsibility for everyone's performance, including their own. They follow up on all outstanding issues, check in on employees, and monitor the effectiveness of company policies and procedures. When problems arise, they identify them quickly, seek solutions, and get things back on track.
Strong leaders treat people the way they want to be treated. They are extremely ethical and believe that honesty, effort, and reliability form the foundation of success. They embody these values so overtly that no employee doubts their integrity for a minute. They share information openly and avoid spin control.
The best leaders guide employees through challenges, always on the lookout for solutions to foster the long-term success of the organization. Rather than making things personal when they encounter problems, or assigning blame to individuals, leaders look for constructive solutions and focus on moving forward.
A great leader conducts themselves in a way that sets them apart from their employees--not in a manner that suggests they are better than others, but in a way that permits them to retain an objective perspective on everything that's going on in their organization.
All leaders must make tough decisions. It goes with the job. Extraordinary leaders must possess a high level of independence and execute difficult and timely decisions made in the best interests of the entire organization. Many decisions require a firmness, authority, and finality, but an extraordinary leader also knows when not to act unilaterally but instead foster collaborative decision-making.
Human dignity, personal responsibility, and humility should always be at the forefront of a good leaders thoughts and executions, and it takes daily conditioning and effort.
The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. —Warren Bennis
AUTHORED BY JEFF SMITH, VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES @ GUIDEIT
I have always been fascinated by the different leadership styles I have witnessed and have worked for in my 35 years in the IT field. It is my belief that a leader, good or bad, has a direct impact on the achievements and accomplishments of those who work for them. I also believe that one’s leadership style is not something that is taught, rather is inherent in their overall personality.
If someone in their everyday life is known as a caring, giving person, they will tend to lead with a style that emphasizes caring more about individual and team achievements than their own personal achievement. If someone in their everyday life is more self-centered, caring more about themselves rather than others, they will tend to focus on trying to advance their own career off the work of their subordinates, and spending the majority of their time managing UP versus managing across.
When I became a leader over an IT Business Development team in my early 30’s, I felt a calling to lead with the same personality and purpose that I believe I have in my everyday life. I felt a responsibility to help others learn and grow, to have direct communications with them, to take responsibility, and truly wanted to contribute to the success of each individual, the team and a bigger purpose. Our overall goal was to find, close and sign new business, which we did well. But for me, signing business never yielded the same reward as watching the development of the team and individual team members, getting compliments about a team member, or having associates from other teams say that they would love to be part of Our Team. And there was nothing better than having a newly signed customer tell you what they saw in us over the competition was a better team of people and a team that they wanted to partner with.
When you become a leader, it’s my belief that your greatest achievements come from the opportunities you provide team members for personal growth, from the recognition of your team members for their dedication and their hard work, and most importantly when you know and feel they embrace you and trust you as their leader.
So if you are a leader constantly ask yourself, how you can best lead them, serve them, support them and engage with them. When you are thinking of these things I believe you have achieved being a great leader.
AUTHORED BY DEANA EILAND, VICE PRESIDENT OF DELIVERY @ GUIDEIT
Teams are a fundamental part of our work and personal lives. But, creating a team is not the same as creating a team that works. Just as joining a team is not the same as performing as a team member. Very simply, teams do not work without teamwork. Active, collaborative teamwork towards a common goal makes all the difference.
How do you build a team that works?
- Be Aware of How You Work – Know your strengths and weaknesses, hold yourself accountable, course-correct and modify your approach if needed to ensure you are leading from a position of strength.
- Get to Know the Rest of the Team – Invest the time to know your team’s individual strengths and weaknesses, how they are wired and what motivates them to excel beyond what is expected.
- Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities – Each of your team member’s responsibilities should be interconnected and dependent on one another. Unique strengths and differences can convert into a powerful united force when aligned properly.
- Be Proactive with Feedback - Feedback is a two-way street and is key to staying on track and course correcting when needed.
- Acknowledge and Reward – People love recognition and appreciate respect. Take the time to give your team the accolades they have earned and deserve.
- Always Celebrate Success! – In today’s fast-paced world, people often don’t take the time to take a step back and truly appreciate what it took to cross the finish line. Don’t ignore it. Your team’s accomplishment was likely with some sacrifice by team members. Celebrating their success and overall impact of the achievement is critical.
"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime."
AUTHORED BY JOHN LYON, CHIEF OF FINANCE @ GUIDEIT
The reality of organizational life is never black and white. More often than not, accountability is muddled and people are not fully aware of the direct connection between their efforts and results. We tend to keep ourselves from being productive simply by not holding ourselves accountable for our actions. It is of utmost importance to first hold yourself accountable for your own obligations, commitments, and actions before participating in a team environment.
Accountability is about improvement. Improve oneself, and the team will respectively improve. Tom Price nails it when he said, "One person's embarrassment is another person's accountability." We are all in a leadership role, as all team members are responsible for contributing to the success of the organization. As leaders, without accountability, an organization would cease to exist. You not only betray yourself by not owning up to your responsibilities, but your team as well.
The major leagues would never send a player on the field who has consistently missed mandatory practices, for obvious reasons; such an action would diminish the collective hard work of the other team members, and scores would decline rapidly. The same goes for any type of team. There must be rules and adherence. A pattern toward advancing success. And that pattern begins with the individual.
It is up to me and no one else to make sure I am doing what I know I should be doing. When someone has to hold me accountable, because I failed to do what I should have done, I have a serious conversation with myself. My belief is that no one should have to hold me accountable for my actions, responsibilities and goals. While I appreciate others helping me get better, I am the one that must hold myself to a high standard.
I am convinced if you want to advance your life personally or professionally, you must hold yourself accountable for your actions, responsibilities, and goals. Think about it. Commitment is a choice and a decision that should be made responsibly. Why should it be someone else’s job to make sure you are doing the things that you know you should be doing?
AUTHORED BY JOHN LYON, CHIEF OF FINANCE @ GUIDEIT
A common trait of reaping success is adaptability. A multitude of challenging, unfamiliar situations inevitably occur throughout life. Both an individual and an organization must be open and adaptable to change when working through these types of situations to experience success. To effectively serve our customers with the right solutions, we at GuideIT must have the ability to adapt as individuals, and respectively, as a team. Challenge and change are inevitable for our customers, therefore working with the flow of change is essential and crucial in assessing and helping them solve complex issues.
Adaptability in optimizing technology means designing the business with a framework that allows for change unique to our particular customers’ needs. This is why adaptability is one of our core values at GuideIT. We demonstrate the flexibility and agility needed to succeed in a world of complexity, ambiguity and change. Each and every one of my peers is adaptable, flexible, and collectively as a team we are able to evaluate obstacles and produce creative adaptable solutions to support the business objectives of our customers.
So with that in mind, here are some tips in personally embracing and helping to cultivate a culture of adaptability:
1. Embrace spontaneity. Carpe diem.
2. Remain calm when unexpected change occurs. Very few things are forever.
3. Find someone you admire with high adaptability and learn from them.
“There can be no life without change, and to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
AUTHORED BY TIM MORRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT @ GUIDEIT
Maximizing the greatest potential of an organization calls for an environment that fosters courage and encourages educated risks. Fostering and maintaining such an environment takes special care and attention. However, an organization who's environment appreciates, nourishes, and respects courageous attempts will surely reap some truly amazing benefits:
- distinctive separation from industry growth expectations and standards
- more empowered team members
- the best possible services and/or solutions not only suggested, but actually delivered to and realized by clients.
I recall an incident from my childhood when my father told me we were going to “paint the house”. I was not quite six years of age at the time. We lived in a small pier and beam house with asbestos shingles for siding. I noticed, in the garage, paint my dad purchased. I decided to surprise my dad by helping out, and began painting the house myself. I took the initiative to open the paint, and paint an entire side of the house. Well, my father came out and saw me painting the siding, but his intentions were to only paint the trim instead of the entire side of the house. However, I was not scolded nor punished for my actions, regardless of the misunderstanding and miscommunication. And regardless of the unintended outcome (clearly not a positive one), because of his gentle reaction, I was not discouraged. That lesson taught me to always continue to try new things, and catapulted me at many times in my life into experiencing more than my peers.
Operating within existing guidelines and comfort zones is like playing in a sandbox; sustainable positive outcomes are predictable and a business can thrive and achieve consistent results within industry standards. But only with courage to be creative, and courage to take risks, is it possible to expand the sandbox and drive results that create milestones and surpass the industry standards. Indeed, each and every act of courage will not result in a positive outcome, but a leader's stoic reaction to failure is what continually fosters and enables courage in others. And it is through creativity, risk taking, and courage that opportunities open for major breakthrough changes.
AUTHORED BY WENDY DURRE, CUSTOMER EXECUTIVE @ GUIDEIT
Trust: Why is it that we use this word so often? It is because we place great value on trust. Trust is not a technique or a request, it is an emotional state. To trust means to be vulnerable and accepting without evidence. Trust is a feeling.
Think back on your experiences....How did you learn to trust? Was it through positive or negative experiences? Regardless of how you answered this question you undoubtedly learned to trust.
This life lesson applies in our work life just as it does our personal life. Trust is a valued commodity that we may not consciously think about on a daily basis. We have trust relationships with our employers, customers, sales people, peers and many others. These relationships are formed based upon many factors, however several stand out:
- Perception of Confidence
- Unguarded Two Way Communication
When I experience the above in my everyday relationship with someone, I consider that to be a successful trust relationship. They are my trusted advisor. I strive to build these types of relationships with my customers each and every day one interaction at a time through honest open communication. I would love to hear how your build and nurture your trust relationships. How do you build trust?