The 3 T’s Every Leader Needs To Succeed
A true leader must be close to his or her team so that when sales are down or times are getting hard, the team holds together. A successful team has the leader’s back.
It’s easy to lead in good times. To survive the inevitable tough times, however, there are three T’s that leaders need in their work relationships in order to succeed:
Transparency – People can see what decisions you are making AND why you are making them. (You don’t have to wear your heart on your sleeve, but you can at least show that you have one.)
Trust – The ability to anticipate an outcome. (My favorite definition of this word.)
Teaching – Actively sharing what you know.
What happens without the three T’s
When a team can’t see why the mission is critical, the mission will only be critical to the leader.
Without a why that resonates with your team, you will likely have higher turnover, less productivity, and less innovation.
Without trust, your team functions in a state of uncertainty, which can lead to increased stress and poor performance.
Lack of trust often exists in a place of volatility. In this situation, decisions are often based on a gut-level reaction rather than on thoughtful analysis and planning.
Very little delegation happens. The leader is doing nearly everything and team members are not empowered.
People in charge regularly have to swoop in like superman to save the day.
Putting all the higher-level skill in the hands of one (or even a few), severely limits the potential of the team and the company.
What happens with the three T’s
With a clear vision of not only where the team is headed, but most importantly, why it’s headed there, team members gain a vested interest in the company’s overall success.
Understanding the why leads to thinking and decision-making based on the best ideas, rather than whose ideas they are.
When trust exists, expectations are clear and good decisions are made.
Team members can be more effective, independent of the leader.
More is accomplished when everyone works to his or her potential.
Team members learn and grow, and experience greater job satisfaction.
Without being limited by “the way it’s always been done,” new ideas, solutions, and opportunities are realized.
Transparency, Trust, Teaching… These three concepts can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of your team — not overnight, but soon, and perpetually.
If these concepts seem a bit foreign in light of your current management style, here are some easy ways to put them into practice.
Start by listening. During your next team meeting, take a few minutes to hear from the other people in the room – what’s going on with them, what concerns they have. Don’t interrupt or offer solutions. This isn’t about resolving anything in that moment; it’s simply an opportunity for your team to be (and feel) heard. Acknowledge any issues that won’t be resolved at that time, and then schedule time to discuss them further or take action.
Involve the team in decision-making. When appropriate, brainstorm ideas. Make sure you hear from everyone – not just the people you think have a valid opinion. Some of the best thinking comes from the people in the trenches.
Delegate. Take an inventory of what you do in a day and figure out what activities you can hand off to someone else. Handing off work to other team members is a great way to build skills and engage your team.