I observed a leader recently who practically shouted to a team member “But I’m the one in charge”!
Oh dear. This leader is having some real issues. Authority, leadership skills, loyalty and many other issues are being questioned.
As a leader, I make plenty of mistakes. I hope I haven’t made the one mentioned in the first line of this post. It’s been said before -“a turtle doesn’t get on a fencepost without plenty of help”. That is so true of leaders. None of us would be where we are, nor would we remain, without the help of team members. Without a team to lead, would there be a need for leaders? The chicks in my favorite painting say so much – there’s the one at the ‘top of the heap’ and notice that only two are really paying attention to the ‘leader’. The rest is busy going about their daily activities. I need to pay attention to this depiction of leadership more often!
Leaders and team members have many responsibilities – and its true for every team member regardless whether they are the leader, member, listener, supporter, researcher – whatever role they serve:
- Every team member needs to switch roles – learn what it is to be in each role and share responsibilities. Step back from your primary role from time to time.
- Listening to each other is vital. Stop talking and stop planning your repsonse in order to really hear what the other person is saying. Repeat what you heard back to them and ask if that is what they meant.
- Treat each other with respect. Save difficult conversations for a private space. Don’t react in a negative way in front of others.
- Allow for mistakes – we all make them. Apologize for the mistakes you make – and better still – learn the lesson and don’t repeat the mistake!
- Honor commitments – make promises you can keep. If you can’t do something, say so.
And there’s so much more to team membership! More to follow.