Proverbs 14:28 (MSG) The mark of a good leader is loyal followers; leadership is nothing without a following.
Leading Your Flock
Now that the passion, vision, and purpose has been established it is time for the new leader to get down to the business he or she was called upon to accomplish. Building a team is the first step to leading a team. If there is no team to lead then the leader is only leading his or her self. It is now time to begin prospecting. Prospecting for paid staff within a business paradigm and prospecting for volunteers within a non-profit paradigm really is not that different. People are looking for something to give their lives to. Within a business paradigm people still want to make their lives count it is just that they get paid a salary . Within a non-profit organization people are looking to make their lives count through acts of service that will live on longer than they will. Either way the new leader building a team must look for people who want to do something bigger than they are. One of the greatest resources and assets a new leader must not overlook is current team members if there was a leader before them. These people obviously bought into the purpose for their team’s existence. Invitations to the team to join the new leaders team are very important. It communicates that no one is assuming that they will serve as a member of the team and it also places communicates value to current team members. It is truly exciting for a new leader when his or her team begins to take shape. When people begin to buy in to the passion, vision, and purpose being shared with them. After people have bought into the new leader’s vision it is time to lead! Leading a team is more than giving orders or casting a vision it is investing in the lives of others. Leading a team means winning and losing together.Leading team means taking a the whole to a higher level than they have ever gone before. Leading a team effectively and skillfully takes time and effort. No one just walks in and leads a team without paying a price. The new leader was brought in to build and lead a team to accomplish a task and purpose. Once the team is assembled and functioning the leader must focus communicating and monitoring the team’s direction. Making sure that everyone on the team is heading in the right direction will help the team hits it’s target. The team’s direction is critical to it’s success. If a team gets misdirected it will spell disaster for everyone on the team and possibly for the organization.
Building Your Team
Building a team is the first step in order for a new leader to lead a team. It may sound obvious but many leaders forget they must have a team to lead a team. As soon as a new leader accepts a position he or she should begin preparing to build a team. Prospecting is term used that leaders use when looking for people or staff of join their team. Prospects for the team may already be there and many times a new leader must begin to look for new prospects by advertising or word of mouth.Prospecting for paid staff positions within the business paradigm is really not that different from prospecting Not that different from prospecting for people within the non-profit organization. In the business paradigm and in the non-profit paradigm a few truths remains. Those truths are that people are looking for something to give their lives to. People are looking to make their lives count for something. People are looking to be a part of something bigger than they are and something that will outlast them. The difference is that in the business paradigm they get paid a salary for their services and in the non-profit paradigm they volunteer their services. Whether a new leader is building a business or non-profit team the fact is that people in both arenas want to get on board a team with a passion, vision, purpose and direction. It is the new leader’s responsibility to communicate the above mentioned issues. It is not hard to lead a team of people who feel like they are fulfilling their life’s purpose.
Build With What You Already Have
When seeking to build his or her team the new leader must be careful not to look beyond the people that are already serving within the organization and specific team. Just because the team members have served the leader prior to the new leader should not eliminate them from joining the new team and getting on board with the new leader. Those people obviously are serving the team and organization for some reason. They must have bought into the purpose for their team’s existence. If a new leader denies current team members from serving on his or her newly formed team he or she does themselves a disservice and the team members a huge disservice. If a sure foundation has already been poured why Not build upon it? Some of the most insightful and vital people could be waiting to be invited to get on board. By inviting current team members to join the team being formed by the new leader are a must. This communicates a few very important points. Invitations communicate that you are not assuming current members will just get onboard no questions asked. It also communicates that the new leader values current team members. And lastly, it allows current team members who served the former leader and team a gracious way to bow out. There is no shame brought upon the current members who do not wish to serve with the new leader and the new leader does not lose momentum by having a members or members bail on them.
It is truly an exciting experience to see a new team begin to take shape. There is nothing like building a team of people who buy into the passion, vision, purpose, and direction of a new leader’s team. Through prospecting and invitations the new leader can begin to see just how great his or her team can be. Once he or she has filled key positions on his or her team with people who have shown a commitment to the success of the team and the organization it is time to lead.
Time to Lead
Now that the team has begun to take shape and the team members have bought into the vision it is time to lead. Leading is more than giving orders or casting visions. It is investing in the lives of others. Leading is best when one leads by example. Leading means winning together. When the team has a Small or large success the whole team should celebrate together. The leader must be careful not to get caught up in the moment and forget without the team the success would not have come. The author once spent six months training a leadership team of ten people to open a taekwondo school. The group was formed and began to train in January. After the first three months the team was down to six committed individuals. When the school opened in June the first night they had over seventy people. Following the night of classes the author gathered his team together and reminded them that without their commitment the last six months the opening night would not have never happened. The author had two successful years as the Senior Instructor of the taekwondo school and when he departed the leadership team he had built continued the school with great success. The author made it a point to celebrate every success whether small or large with the entire team. Leading during great times of success is not as tough as leading during challenging times. Losing together is just as important as winning together. The leader should not have to shoulder the whole responsibility for losing. It takes a team to win and a team to lose. While losing is no fun it can be a very valuable learning tool. If the leader does not allow the team to feel the sting of losing the team will not learn the lessons that come with losing. Losing can yield some very valuable insights to future success. To shield a team from losing is not to prepare the team for life. Leading means winning and losing together. Leaders are to do one thing while winning or losing they are to lead.
Once the team is assembled, functioning, and all its members are on the same page in terms of personal growth a leader must monitor direction. It is the leader’s responsibility to make sure that all of the team’s members are heading in the right direction and focused on the same target. Making sure that every member is on the same path and following the same direction is critical to the success of the team and its leaders. If a team gets misdirected it could spell disaster for the team and leader. A leader must be careful to monitor each move the team makes to ensure success. The way that a leader can monitor direction is by open communication with his or her team. Through clear and concise recasting of passion, vision, purpose, and direction a leader can assess that his or her team members are on the same page. It is also a good idea for the leader to request feedback from his or her team members concerning the direction of the team. By simply asking the team members to communicate what they feel is their purpose within the team the leader can assess if the team has the same direction or if some of its members have gotten off course. One team member who has gotten off course and lost direction can effect the whole team. If a leader suspects that a team member has lost his or her way he or she should do their best to redirect the team member toward the purpose, goals, and targets predetermined. Leading a team and maintaining the teams’ direction is not easy. Leading a team and maintaining its direction within a larger organization is even harder. Hard or easy a leader must lead!
Life Lessons From The Author
In North Carolina I was preparing to open a non-profit taekwondo school. I had joined a new organization and I took the first six months to establish teams to fulfill the purpose I was brought into the organization for. I have a passion for the martial arts and I love to teach. So many martial arts schools charge such a high cost that it is not affordable for families to practice together. So I decided I would open a school at my local church. Step one was to find people willing to volunteer their time for free training in return. Once I found the ten candidates I was looking for it was time to train them. This group of ten people would be my leadership team. Not only did I train them in martial arts but I also trained them in business practices, people skills, and public speaking. After six months of intense training we opened our school with tremendous success. However, that was just the beginning. Opening was the beginning staying open and successful was the challenge. I lost four of the ten original leaders and they had to be replaced. My team had to continue receiving private training and we had to recruit new leaders replace those that were lost. We remained successful because we were committed to training, leading, and recruiting. My team received regular evaluations and our school received regular evaluations from outsiders and insiders. We built a strong organization by building on what we had and investing in our own. I later left that school in the capable hands of my leadership team. We repeated this same process with even greater success in Florida within five years of opening we won the USCDKA Florida State Championships and Southeast Regional Championships. Its remains a successful model because we remain true to what we learned and were taught. Quality leadership development boils down to the I.C.N.U. (I see in you) principle. We build teams based upon what we see in others and we help them discover their gifts and talents and then put them into practice.