“None of us is as smart as all of us.”
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”
Halford E. Luccock
“There is incredible value in being of service to others.”
A conductor directs an orchestra. A coach leads a team. Both leadership roles provide guidance and support. Neither of these roles is required unless there is an orchestra or team that needs it. So…who is more important, the leader or the followers?
Which Came First…?
Sometimes a movement or group comes into being and a leader rises from its ranks. Other times an individual has an idea or is tasked to complete a project and forms a team to realize their goal. Regardless, the reality is that the team completes what needs to be done. The team needs the leader for direction but the task is ultimately accomplished by the team.
Who brings the most value to the task at hand? Given our past discussions about vision and mission the leader brings a great deal to the table. He or she knows where the team is going and how to get there. However, the team does most of the heavy lifting. So, where should the focus be? You could argue that it should be the leader since they shoulder the responsibility. That view may hold for the first success but, without proper resources, what are the chances an unsupported, unrecognized team will work as hard the next time?
Imagine a concert where the conductor doesn’t show up; or a football game where the coaches are absent. The music and the game could still be played, not as well perhaps, but the show could go on. Now imagine a concert where the only one on the stage is the conductor or a football game where it’s just the two coaches on the field. Do the patrons or fans get their money’s worth for their tickets?
Being a Good Steward of People
It’s a matter of perspective. A leader must be confident in his or her skills. But it is equally if not more important that they have an appreciation for their team. Without a team leadership skills are not needed and the project doesn’t get done, the product doesn’t get out the door or the customer does not get served.
If you are only interested in how you are viewed by those above you they’ll learn you care only about your reputation and yourself. If your interest rests on those who work for you things will get done and done well. From on high that will be recognized. Your employees should be where your attention is focused in a manner that gives them what they need to do their jobs well. Your support should be all encompassing including available financial resources, knowledge, equipment and— your time.
Believe in Them First
Coaches need to be cheerleaders too. The conductor always lets the orchestra take a bow. Remember to recognize your team’s efforts. Not just when they finish a project but throughout the entire process. Not just when they get it right but even when they make a mistake. It’s important you let them know you have confidence in them even when things don’t go well. Sometimes you need to believe in them first before they will believe in themselves. Your confidence in them will be another source of support and sustenance as they labor on for you.
As a leader it is important to care for your team. Take care of them and they will take care of you and your customers. Your team will appreciate your support and they will respond to your leadership with a willingness to accomplish the things you ask of them.
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish
all of you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving!
Here to serve,
Next month: Taking Time for Yourself