Leadership is one of those ubiquitous topics in business. We recognize the term and use it frequently in our discussions of things we need more of. We gather in seminars and in off-sites to discuss it. We develop anagrams and exercises to better define it. And we watch inspirational videos to feel it. Still, leadership seems to evade us when we could benefit from it the most – on a regular day at work with our team. Here are a few reminders to make leadership part of your daily perspective.
It All Begins With Trust
In The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (and the corresponding workshop, The 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team), Patrick Lencioni describes trust as the foundation of the teamwork pyramid that supports all other team dynamics.
Trust can only happen when team members are willing to be completely vulnerable with one another. There is confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around each other.
Without trust, attention ultimately becomes displaced onto the individual’s goal rather than the team goal. Team members avoid making commitments to each other or holding each other accountable for performance and results. (We often use a behavior assessment like DiSC to give team members deeper insights into themselves and their peers. It can help people understand each other and get comfortable being transparent about personal limitations).
Let Go of the Title
Here are 2 things that you already know: 1) Titles don’t indicate ability, they have more to do with communicating a level of authority to those outside the organization; and 2) Teams of people are always stronger than even the most talented individual. Why not combine these to rebrand your internal identity? Consider the following example:
“And this is Carol. She’s…
- a) an administrative assistant.”
- b) on Team Fireball.”
Which one sounds more engaging to you?
Create Awareness by Being Real
This is the simplest form of leadership by example: having noticeable strengths and the vulnerability to admit your weaknesses. In other words: be real. Show up prepared. Take risks. Experiment. Ask for and accept help. Celebrate achievements. Share failures. Get involved and get engaged. Be the coworker you most want to be working with. You may be surprised how much awareness this creates in others.