The best teams in the world - whether in business, sports or elsewhere - don't just happen, they are made.
That's a simple and important insight. Because all too often I speak with leaders who see their team's performance as a given fact rather than an opportunity to shape it.
My thesis, which proves true again and again, is that if the leader really wants it, it is possible to form a top team from any group of people ("fellow workers") in a fairly short time, a team that reliably and joyfully produces top results. I call this a "winning team."
Productivity can be a multiple of the original as an effect, fun is significantly greater, attraction to talent increases, and so on. There are many positive effects that make the journey worthwhile for everyone.
Is that easy? No, of course not! Is it doable? Absolutely.
As with any major transformation in life as in business, there are a number of steps to take to make it happen.
I'm always asked how people can tell that they have a "winning team." And related to that, what is the most important difference to a "normal" team.
Well, I define a "winning team" as a team that reliably achieves top results sustainably over a longer period of time while having fun.
Thus, outstanding results are certainly one criterion. But almost more important are characteristics that you sense in your team already on the way to becoming a winning team. Because these often come before the actual results - and also go beyond them.
The past year has had its share of peculiarities, from the uncertainty caused by the pandemic to the disrupted supply chains.
Many business leaders are reporting new challenges that didn't exist before or were less prevalent.
From my own experience and my numerous conversations with leaders from all kinds of industries, I have distilled some key "learning points."
Admittedly, the question in the headline may seem strange to you. Very few people associate "happiness" with leadership.
And wrongly so. After all, if you're going to put in all the hard work and overtime that usually comes with leadership positions, you don't want to be unhappy in the process, do you?
Quite a few don't let this consideration get to them. I love to ask my clients at the outset of our work relationship, "Are you happy doing what you do?"
Here's another hint: If you ask parents what they want most for their children, the number one answer you'll hear is, "That they're happy!"
So if it's most important to us for our loved ones to be happy, why not in leadership? And especially at this time of year, I think it's an obvious thought.
So, are you happy in what you do at work? And are the people on your team?
Because if you and your people are, everyone will enjoy performing at a higher level and have more fun doing it.
Top leaders form top teams. In my experience, this aspect, which is simple in itself, is often neglected in leadership coaching and training.
Why is this important? Well, one's own team is simply THE lever for greater influence and more success.
What many leaders pay too little attention to - and accordingly focus too little on - is the targeted development of the team into a winning team.
The goal is that this team, in principle without the leader, sustainably delivers top performance, takes full responsibility and enjoys doing so.
That may sound too bold, but it is achievable and unfortunately not very common.
A week ago, I wrote about what is more important in leadership from now on ( read the blog post here).
Today I am discussing what you should do more specifically with your team in the future.
The need comes mainly from the fact that with the pandemic it became clear that external influences are becoming stronger and more frequent. Anyone who now hopes for a return to "normality" will need good luck not to perish.
Few things are as critical to your long-term team success as deciding who belongs on your team and who doesn't.
Although this fact is common knowledge, most decision-making puts too little emphasis on those questions that bring us closer to a winning team in the long term.
What do I mean by that? Well, winning teams function according to different rules than mediocre teams. The standards demanded of team members are sometimes quite different from the standards demanded of people who function well in average environments.
This becomes very clear in a comparison with team sports: the players of a team in the soccer Champions League are not only able to play soccer better on average than others (this is self-evident), but above all, they have different standards for themselves and the environment in which they operate. This includes much more than just the activity itself (soccer in the example).
Conflicts are part of life like salt in the soup. Especially in the professional environment, avoiding conflict is one of the causes of poor collaboration.
If we don't address conflicts, they smolder on anyway and lead to an artificial harmony that benefits no one.
Often, fear is the cause of holding back conflict because we don't know how to handle it.
To effectively deal with conflict, it is critical to know the root causes.
One of the most frequent questions I am asked is how you can make a team out of your people that stand together and work closely with each other.
Unfortunately, the reality is often different: people work against each other, or at least there is a certain indifference to each other's goals.
We are often so busy with our own stuff that there is no time and attention for the needs and problems of others.
Conversely, imagine what you could accomplish with your team if everyone marched with full energy in a common direction and everyone could fully rely on the others.
The gap between this ideal state and your reality shows your potential as a leader. And even if the gap doesn't seem too big to you, you usually have various opportunities to achieve more.
One of the most common desires of leaders is that each of their team members pulls together with the others in the same direction and delivers top performance with enthusiasm.
Well, unfortunately, the reality is usually quite different. Almost every team has a strong variance in all matters that would be important for a top team. Some people are not very motivated, others do not bring enough results, and still others take too little responsibility. And so on.
In my leadership coaching, I often direct attention to the composition of the team and what should be done about it if you want to create a top team. In any case, waiting and hoping for the better is not a good strategy (but one I encounter frequently).
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