Back to blogs

Surround yourself with good people

Posted by Belinda Skinner

over 3 years ago

You're only as good as your team... many managers forget this. A high achiever focuses on "me" whereas a true leader will focus on the achievements of the "team". The sign of a good leader is having a good team behind them. Many managers fear having team members becoming better than they are, they fear their subordinates having more knowledge than them. Why? Perhaps because they fear they will feel useless, of no value or perhaps replaceable! However, once a leader embraces the idea that success is about having a strong team behind you, they are on the way to being a successful leader.

To grow a successful team, a leader must learn to empower their employees. With empowerment we must accept that most decisions have multiple outcomes. Unfortunately we cannot predict those outcomes. We need to embrace them and learn from them. As a true leader we must let the next generation of leaders to make decisions. Why? As we all know too well, we learn from mistakes. If you don't make a mistake, you haven't pushed yourself far enough! As a true leader you should be there to support, guide and offer advice - not dictate. The second hardest step of becoming a leader is stepping back, letting them come up with a solution and supporting that solution, no matter what. This takes courage. Let them have an opinion. Let them voice that opinion. The hardest step is admitting that perhaps sometimes they were right, or perhaps they came up with a better way of doing it! Admitting you are wrong occasionally, isn't such a bad thing! (In fact, in many cases you earn respect from your managers).

As a leader you generally know the answers that your team are trying to find, but you want them to find it, so you help by steering the conversation until they can see a solution. You need to encourage or steer the conversation around to get the answer out. You want them to come up with the answer, even if you already know it. The biggest trick is making them feel it was their idea. (Any good architect or designer will also tell you this).

One of the first steps to having a great team is to remember that importantly, no two people are the same. They will not all respond in the same way. A good leader needs to understand each person, the different ways they think, the different ways they respond and their different motivations. Don't always assume they understand or accept your requests or decisions. Sometimes we have to give reasoning behind those decisions... and that is a hard one to accept as a manager. Once you have this, you are on your way to having a great team.

The second step is to make sure your team are on the same page you are. The goals must be aligned. You need to be clear about expectations and must get buy-in from your team. Without that, everyone is heading in different directions. How do you know if you got there, if you don't know where you are going?

In my personal experience, it takes time to build leaders. But it also takes trust. If you don't put trust in your team and you don't show that trust, they will not respond. They need to see that you are genuine about their career growth, their development and their well-being.

Personally, I am so fortunate and very proud of my next generation of leaders. I have a strong foundation of managers who are vast becoming great leaders. I wouldn't be where I am without my team of managers and also without the great team that supports them. We have developed a strong culture here of being a "family". In that sense, it means we work together, we support each other and believe in teamwork. We refer to our team as the "en world family". We welcome new people to "the en world family" and we are sad to see people leave "the en world family". Developing that culture has taken a long time of people working together.

The best leaders are those who believe that the success comes from all those doing the work together.