The leader is an important factor in the success or failure of any team. People choose to follow leaders because of who they are and what they represent. Effective leaders create an environment in which team members can function well. They ensure that needed resources are on hand. They don t create barriers and distractions that would hinder the team s operations ”they remove them. They don t generate problems but address and solve existing problems that are beyond the scope of the team members . They accept responsibility for everything the team does and does not do. They set a positive example at all times and in all areas. They protect their workers from external interference or criticism. They are wise enough to know that they cannot focus on achieving results alone. In today s world they must simultaneously do three things in order to be successful leaders: achieve the desired results, develop and take care of employees , and conduct themselves in an ethical manner. Included in ethical conduct is community, social, and environmental consciousness. To create an environment where morale , pride , and spirit can thrive, a leader must have the capacity to do all of these things. Any gaps in these areas would limit the success of the effort.
Use the following checklist (pages 13 “15) to assess your current level of readiness and to determine capabilities that you need to develop further.
To create morale, pride, and spirit within a team, a leader should possess certain characteristics and skills. These elements relate primarily to meeting the social needs of team members. Use this checklist to see where you stand.
I am genuinely concerned about and interested in the people I lead.
Leaders should care about the people they lead. They need to help those they lead realize their potential by promoting risk taking, viewing honest mistakes as learning experiences, emphasizing excellence over perfection , giving freedom through empowerment, and encouraging continuous professional development. When team members see that their leader is just as interested in their achieving their professional goals as in their achieving the team s goals, they will respond with loyalty, support, and cooperation.
I am creative and open to taking risks.
Building morale, pride, and spirit is an innovative process. The traditional focus on achieving results above everything else is in direct opposition to this process.
I am flexible and adaptable.
This process is not for leaders who have to have it their way or else. There must be elements of flexibility, adaptability, and even spontaneity in the leader who succeeds in this effort.
I am a person of sound character.
Nothing influences others as greatly as character in action, and nothing can cause leaders to lose their influence like a lapse in character or an obvious character flaw. Leaders of sound character have a clear sense of truth and what is right and wrong. They know that right and wrong are not based on their individual preferences but on a combination of social acceptability, established laws, custom and tradition, organizational standards and values, and the norms of honorable conduct.
I am authentic , sincere, and genuine .
Regardless of title and position, leaders ought to conduct themselves like real people and be easy to be with. They should not take themselves too seriously; their sense of humor should even allow them to make fun of themselves. They must not be aloof, arrogant , impatient, overly critical, or ill-tempered.
I am open, honest, and self-disclosing.
Your weekend , your daughter s soccer game, your hobbies, your thoughts regarding the current news or sports results ”all of these are appropriate items to discuss with your team. The notion that a person s work life and personal life are compartmentalized and should not cross over is not consistent with the current demands of effective leadership. Sharing about yourself is important. Taking an active interest in others is also important.
I am passionate about my work.
A leader s passion is contagious and sends a clear message to the team members about the leader s focus and commitment. It causes team members to identify with the leader and helps create the positive emotional connection that is so powerful in the leader-follower relationship.
I am highly competent.
Leaders must be knowledgeable about their industry, their organization, and general managerial functions, as well as their job-specific functions. This knowledge is acquired through continuous learning, primarily through reading, coaching, soliciting feedback, executive training programs, and new or additional job responsibilities. Reading can actually be the easiest way, considering the schedules of some leaders. Some leaders complain they can t afford the time to read. In reality, if they want to remain successful, they can t afford not to read.
I am skilled in the process of personnel selection and placement.
Bringing people into the team who fit with the team s culture and chemistry is extremely important. This is not to say that the team should be a homogeneous group , since diversity of views and experiences is also important. You should constantly be developing your skills and your team members skills in identifying the best talent for the team.
I am there for the people on my team.
Leaders need to be visible and available. They should encourage participation, but they should never shy away from making the tough decisions, stepping up in a crisis, accepting responsibility for results, and getting the team back on track when necessary.