March is college basketball tournament month, and it’s obvious during March Madness that championship coaches don’t recruit teams to play against one particular opponent. They want teams that can win no matter who the opponent happens to be. Similarly, instead of designing your team around a particular task, recruit people that you think belong on a dream team that will be flexible enough and talented enough to tackle any project. Here are four leadership concepts or principles that can help ensure that your teams have a deep enough bench and the adaptability to keep on winning, no matter what.
1) Focus on Teams, Not Just Projects
Wins in any situation or against any challenger are earned by teams that are solution-oriented, not just task-fixated. Such a well-aligned group of people can attack virtually any problem and get fantastic results. But cherry-picking a team to work on just one specific project will require that once that project is finished, you have to redesign your team from the ground-up. Otherwise you risk getting stuck with an inflexible group that cannot adapt to the next unique and different challenge you face. That’s inefficient and is why so many companies today aren’t getting the results they want.
2) Develop Leaders, Not Followers
Teams that are self-motivated get things done, not teams that always wait for you to tell them what to do. Every person on your team should be trained to be a leader, so that you can delegate more of your own responsibility. Develop the talent you have into something even greater by giving each person the resources they need to grow and thrive in multifaceted directions.
3) Communication is Collaboration
You can recruit a group of all-stars, but unless they cooperate and function like a team you’ll never accomplish anything worthwhile. Communicate your team’s common goals and individual roles so they are clearly understood. Emphasize and reward supportive teamwork, creative collaboration, and open sharing of ideas. That kind of attitude generates positive energy and fosters innovation, and if your team collaborates to innovate then its performance will become legendary.
4) Inspiration versus Supervision
One of the mistakes that leaders commonly make is that they focus more on managing teams than they do on developing the people who comprise those teams. In most cases, the role of a successful leader is not to supervise but to inspire. If you choose the right people and give them the tools to succeed, they don’t need to be constantly motivated and managed. They’ll rise to the occasion because you have engaged them in a way that taps into their passion. We all want to succeed and excel, and if you give people that career opportunity they’ll flourish with a loyalty that is the hallmark of teams that have outstanding, masterful leaders.
Teams don’t happen overnight, they have to coalesce and develop around a core set of values. What do you value in a performance-driven team that is up for any challenge?