1. You – Be a leader, not a boss
This is easier said than done as many people do not really understand the concept of leadership as opposed to being a boss. As a boss, you give commands to your subordinates and they are expected to execute them. This might work if you are an absolute genius who has absolutely everything under control. But, if you are able to do all that by yourself, why do you need a team in the first place?
As a boss, you own someone’s time, 8 hours a day and, normally, that is all you get. Leaders get much more; culture, involvement, ownership, initiative … leaders get the whole package. As a leader, you serve others to become better. You improve your most valuable assets – people, and improvement of the entire system happens much faster. In addition to serving others, you take full responsibility for their actions. It is not easy, but it is rewarding.
This is certainly not a lesson about leadership, but some of the tips could be handy. Forget about using authority, use passion. One of the most important members of your team is probably your boss, a person in top management that supports your program. Quite difficult to be bossy to your boss, right? Transfer your passion and your beliefs, explain and train, listen and show respect, motivate, do not micromanage, translate goals to each team member in language they accept. Values, beliefs, behavior, and rituals – culture. That is your first task to create within your team. The benefits of technology will grow just fine in that fertile soil.
2. Team – MUST-ers vs. WANT-ers
These are not English words. They are invented to better illustrate what I often see. People get assigned to certain tasks Their superior sends them to join the team. So .. they MUST. You can easily recognize a MUST-er, that is the guy playing solitaire on his smartphone during the training. You are wasting each other’s time. And it is not his fault. It is probably your fault of the fault of the person that sent him. MUST-ers were not born that way, the system creates them. Bosses do this by forcing people to do something they do not understand or have no interest in. They will never do the job right. You don’t want MUST-ers in your team because sooner or later, they win .. and you lose.
Try the other way around. Promote your program, promote the idea, talk about it, share knowledge, share your plans. You need to hear yourself to be sure you understand it. And listen. Recognize those who react to your passion with their own passion. And there you will find your teammate.
MUST-er, in a best case scenario, becomes a DO-er.
WANT-er becomes a THINK-er.
You need thinkers.
3. Fans – Fence sitters – Naysayers
Once you recruit your team from the fans group, the job is not over. Two other groups, Fence sitters and Naysayers, are there with you, as part of your organization, doing their job.
There are ingredients you need for your program;
Proper reasons why yes – to make sure you understand
Proper reasons why not – to understand what others don’t understand
You need both, keep that in mind.
People often get tempted to do something about Fence sitters, to “convert” Fence sitters and to fight against Naysayers. Don’t do that.
Fence sitters are those guys that will just stand aside and observe. They will never convert. Their plan is to stay safe. They have an opinion but choose to be silent and avoid risk. Cowards? Maybe, but that is irrelevant. Given the choice of reaping a potential benefit, versus taking a risk and maybe reaping no benefit, they will always choose the safest, risk-free path. You can explain all you want, but they will not change. Because it is not about understanding, it is about their mentality. Their plan is simple and effective; if you succeed, they will hug you and say; “I believed in you from the beginning my friend” .. if you fail they will say; “I told you so!!”
Ignore them, don’t waste your time and energy.
Naysayers are those guys that openly oppose your ideas and your program. They say it loud and clear and offer their reasons why. Are they enemies? No! They have an opinion and they have the courage to express it. You need to respect that. If you fight against them, you recognize them as enemies, but there is a better way. Learn from them! Having a strong opponent is a blessing. Their position and the fact that they are saying it loud and clear is exactly what you need to understand the situation completely.
Listen to reasons why not, that tells you what others don’t understand. One of the ingredients, remember? Keep them close, keep listening to them, they are highly valuable opponents, not enemies. Not to be ignored or argued with, they might be right, they might even teach YOU something
They will make you better.
4. Me working in YOUR project vs. MY small private project
Translate goals to organizational, departmental, and individual. Those languages are different, so translate carefully!
Slice your strategy in elements, down to the individual level
Now, with clearly translated goals and sliced up strategic tasks .. create a private microproject and assign one to each team member. Make it personal: credits, responsibility, rights and obligations. Avoid feeling that they are working for your project as people are better when doing their own project, so define it clearly. By doing this, you create leaders, and that is your value as a leader.
Seems that you are surrounded with friends that think like you, carefully listening to colleagues that don’t think like you, ignoring those that have no courage to express their opinion. That is a good place to be.
Your team is a group of leaders, running their own micro projects with pride, taking credit for success, and taking responsibility for fails. Not blaming – helping, not grandstanding – sharing.
If you are in this position, you are already successful, you created a family.
I personally work in one.
It’s time to put the technology to work
… in Part 4