For any enterprise to be truly successful, having lone wolves working in silos is out of the question. As LinkedIn’s Co-Founder Reid Hoffman points out, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” In order to win, you not only need to create your A-Team, but you also need to build it and manage it. Here’s a roundup of six of our favorite team management quotes that help you do just that.
Lead by example
“I’ve always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” – Lee Iacocca
Don’t be a manager who just delegates work and sits back to supervise. True leaders know that in order to get their team to really believe in them, they need to roll up their sleeves and help execute too. Especially as traditional vertically structured organizations disappear, managers or C-level executives need to be hands-on. This way, your team members understand both your style of working and the tempo of work required. Furthermore, your team will also realize that you don’t just bark orders but have a firm understanding of the tasks at hand. Take the example of any truly world-class, Michelin star winning restaurant; the kitchen crew follows suit, knowing fully well that they report to an executive chef who understands every aspect of what it takes to produce an award winning dish. The head chef at such restaurants will actually cook for his team and teach them the secrets to creating his or her signature dishes.
Drop the bravado and show vulnerability
“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. The only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability” – Patrick Lencioni
Even if you chair the board of the company you founded, there is a very slim chance that you can achieve everything in the company by yourself. Show vulnerability as this makes you more human to your team. By showing that you occasionally make mistakes too and that you are open to learning, you build trust within your team and this is invaluable. You nurture a culture of trust, where team members will extend a helping hand when possible and knowledge transfer will happen organically. You don’t look weak just because you show vulnerability, but you do help your team members better understand how their contributions are adding value to areas that you may have not been successful in.
Focus more on “we” and less on “me”
“It is amazing how much people can get done if they do not worry about who gets the credit.” – Sandra Swinney
Getting caught up in the “I, me, myself” cycle is so easy and it happens to the best of us. One can get caught thinking – “this needs to be done my way,” “what’s in it for me?”, or “How am I going to get the credit for this?” However, if you notice the most successful professionals or organizations across any industry, be it in sports or business, they tend to use terms such as, “us”, “we” and “our” more frequently than average performers. Even Apple’s cryptic 9.9.14 invitation read, “Wish we could say more.” Though it is a given that CEO Tim Cook will be taking center stage, the invitation never mentions his name. As a leader, if you think less about taking credit for something, your team too is more likely to think about collective goals, rather than individual gains.
Focus on strengths
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team” – Phil Jackson
You hire a team member or decide to partner with a set of professionals based on their strengths and skills they bring to the table. Focus on their strengths and encourage them to further hone their skills by presenting your team members with suitable challenges. By strengthening every individual member’s skill-set you make your team as a whole stronger. On the flip side, if you choose to harp on the weaknesses of your team members, you could end up with a bunch of disgruntled professionals! Imagine the frustration that can arise from making them spend their resources on trying to sort out their weaknesses. Neither are they honing their key strengths nor are they ever going to feel adequate when you pinpoint their weaknesses.
Understand that freedom isn’t anarchy
“Hire great people and give them freedom to be awesome.” – Andrew Mason
Hiring professionals with truly unique backgrounds and great potential is all good. But quite frequently, being in a position of power makes even a good manager want to hold on to the reins tightly and call the shots. This can result in a stifling environment that can prove detrimental to your team’s creativity and productivity. Understand that giving freedom to your team members doesn’t result in anarchy or loss of your own power. It empowers team members to be leaders of their own tasks, while making them accountable for their decisions and deliverables.
While we have listed six of our favorite quotes in this post, there are several more golden team management quotes out there. Share some of your favorite ones with us and tell us how they have influenced the way you manage your team.
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