by Michael Nichols
Why is it such a challenge to get everybody headed in the same direction? Why do team members get frustrated? How do you get them excited about what you are doing?
A few weeks ago, I was driving Madison and her friend to school. To avoid busy school traffic, I turned down a narrow back road.
As we talked about her morning and her after school plans, the passenger side tires left the pavement for a few moments spinning up grass and gravel. I laughed and told Madison to keep her side on the road – the same thing you say to your kids, right?
Then Madison asked, “Dad, why does mom always complain about your driving?” (For the record, Sarah doesn’t ALWAYS complain about my driving. And she complains less today than she used to.)
I responded, “Because I drive fast sometimes. And sometimes I stop fast.”
Madison was quiet for a moment. Then she said, “Dad – It’s really not all about getting there fast. It’s about enjoying the trip and getting there together.”
She’s right – more right than her 8-year-old mind can comprehend at this stage of her life.
What about you? Are you having fun? Is your team excited about what you are building and becoming together?
Here are 5 ways to help your team gain momentum and lead with passion:
1. Clarify Vision
It allows people to determine if (and how) they fit within the culture and direction of the organization. And you must be communicating the vision often enough to provide ample opportunity for them to self assess – their performance, their vision, their passion.
Your people want to be reminded why their work is so important and how their contribution is making a significant difference.
2. Develop people
One of my core convictions is, All people are valuable and worth developing. You will never be able to develop everyone. So you will have to choose to do for a few what you would like to do for many (something I learned from Andy Stanley).
Never accept less than their best. If you do, you are cheating them. Your are cheating your team. And you are cheating the organization.
When your team members do well, express gratitude. And do it publicly. They’ll love you for it.
Many believe trust is the byproduct of trustworthiness. Meaning – if someone is trustworthy, they can earn your trust.
I wonder if we have talked ourselves into this perspective because we are too lazy to do the hard work of real trust.
Trust is a choice. Period.
For every team member, you choose to trust or be suspicious.
If you are suspicious, you’ll find yourself operating from a win-lose perspective. You will assess every situation wondering if you (or your organization) are winning or losing.
When you choose to view a team member through the lens of suspicion rather than trust, usually everyone around knows it. They see it in your communication, in your actions, and in your decisions.
Let’s face it – nothing productive ever comes from interactions based on suspicion. Your team members deserve your trust.
Bill Greer, President of Milligan College, once said to me, “If you want to help people, listen for as long as you possibly can before responding”. Your team members are trading nearly 200 hours of their lives every month to be a part of what you are building together.
Are they trading their time for something worthwhile?
The only way you will ever know is to stop long enough to listen intently and ask thoughtful questions.
When young people aspire to be a great leader, serving is rarely the first thing that comes to mind. Most list vision, passion, systems, goals, success, authenticity, and achievements as components of leadership long before considering service.
Don’t be in such a hurry. Have a little fun. Embrace the adventure of the journey with your team.
About Michael Nichols: Michael Nichols the author of Creating Your Business Vision and Executive Pastor at FBC Midlothian in the Dallas area. His career has been spent facilitating personal and organizational growth. He also writes, speaks, coaches, and consults. He is married and has one daughter and one son.