THE PLATOON HUT
Belief is one of the most important factors in determining the success of a team. As Jocko wrote about in Extreme Ownership, if the team believes in the mission, they will do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. But if the team doesn’t believe in the mission, it’s unlikely they will persevere through challenges or do the hard work necessary to achieve mission success. But getting a team on board isn’t as easy as telling them about the mission. Spreading belief, like many other facets of leadership, requires balance. It’s another of the infinite dichotomies in the Dichotomy of Leadership.
It’s human nature to get comfortable with success. Victory breeds confidence. Successive victories multiply that confidence which can lead to complacency. When leaders and teams get complacent, they fail to thoroughly plan for contingencies since the potential for challenges and obstacles seems far-fetched. However, this mindset sets the team up for disaster.
Agile leaders recognize the need to continually ‘innovate and adapt’ and move swiftly to steer the organization on the right path. These change agents can propel a company forward by offering solutions and executing critical programs throughout the organization while maintaining a positive outlook for others to emulate.
A good leader needs to have a strong relationship with everyone on his or her team. The more you know about them and the more connected you are, the more effective you become. So on the one hand, you need to be close with your subordinates…but not too close.
While powerful, communicating in written word can be dangerous when the reader receives a different emotion than the writer intended. The dynamic of the correspondents’ relationship at the time and the current work situation are factors that can cause a difference in the perception of the message.
The most common answer I hear from leaders who have a hard time letting go is a feeling of ‘loss of control.’ They worry that the ship will crash when they begin taking their hands off the wheel. This is human nature. As a junior officer in the SEALs, I thought I had to lead everything because of the nature of my title. However, it was a series of great mentors who taught me that the true sign of a leader is how the team or organization performs when the leader leaves.
The 4th Law of Combat, Decentralized Command, is fundamental to having an agile and flexible organization. For Decentralized Command to be effective, everyone on the team must understand the “why” behind their individual part of the mission.
The first thing you should do is let your team know that you won’t let the distance prevent good communication. Show them that you’re going to make it a priority to develop a strong relationship regardless of where everyone works. There are several ways to engage remotely including email, Skype, FaceTime, the phone, and others. Utilize them all to develop good relationships.
They offered up insightful feedback and the meeting was very helpful. What made the difference? And then it hit me – perhaps they didn’t speak up as much in the past because they didn’t need to – I did all the talking.
And if it’s simply a short-term deal to pay the bills, or save for a trip, teach them that the discipline they learn when they do good work in an unfulfilling job will serve them well as they move on to bigger and better things.