I am fortunate to be an entrepreneur that has also experienced life in small, medium and very large enterprises. As an entrepreneur, I am used to developing products and services, solving one financial crisis after another and selling and promoting my business. However, my wider experience in larger enterprises tells me that you cannot be really successful without a strong team around you.
I often blog about leadership. I sometimes find it amusing how advice is offered in lists; 10 ways to becoming a more effective leader, 5 ways to create loyalty, 12 ways to create a more harmonious working environment. I try to play back these lists in my blog adding my comments and my take on the advice being offered.
Recently, however, I started to think more deeply about what is giving me the confidence to strive to grow ever stronger as a leader. I have assembled a very strong team. The team are committed to the business. I am loyal to them and I feel their loyalty to me. I believe that we are all aligned with the vision for the business around a common set of values. There is an authenticity to our culture. It is a great start.
In my heart I know that a key factor to success is keeping the communication level up and, while I try to be a good communicator, I know that I have a long way to go to be good enough and to know that, as the team grows larger and larger, everyone remains aligned to the vision. But, we are still a strong team that is moving the needle every day.
We are constantly presented with challenges. We know that overcoming these challenges is what makes us strong. As a team, we try to anticipate challenges and plan around them and not waste our energy and enthusiasm trying to vanquish all. One of the toughest challenges, however, is to make sure we do not overreact to short-term issues. A good friend of mine, Marc Heylen commented on one of my recent blog posts where I explored the differences between an effective leader and an effective executive. In his comment he stated “Many “tweet-leaders” nowadays change the direction into which they lead their business based on the next tweet-sized piece of information they receive under the disguise that they are reacting to changing circumstances. In most cases they use this as an excuse for lack of vision and policy.” He is so right! Short-term-ism is to be avoided at all costs!
So what is it that makes a strong team stronger and a good leader better?
I think that it comes down to confidence. Leaders are naturally confident so what’s new? It’s simple, when I cast around and look at some of the truly great leaders; they are all experts at instilling confidence in the team that surrounds them. Vince Lombardi said “Confidence is contagious.” How right he is. I am reminded of the Stanford Commencement Address given by Steve Jobs in 2005 when he used all of his charisma to build confidence in the new graduates he was addressing. He said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path.”
While I strive to be a better communicator I can safely say that the strength of my team will continue to grow because they have an inner confidence and confidence, like winning, is contagious.
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