Leading Successful TeamsApr 04, 2022
Whether you lead teams at work, in a volunteer role, or as a leader of your family unit, you have probably wondered how to inspire and motivate others to perform to the best of their abilities.
With over 25 years of experience creating and leading award-winning teams for a Fortune 10 technology firm, Jean Briese, our guest in Episode 86 of The MINDSet Game® podcast, has an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of successful teams and the qualities of effective leaders. In this episode, Jean shares some of the most valuable lessons from her life and career, beginning with a pivotal experience she had as a teenager.
The power of kindness
At age 15, Jean unexpectedly found herself and her three younger siblings living in a foster home. When a group of volunteers from a local church heard about the family’s situation and arrived at the home with gifts and supplies, Jean – who was overwhelmed by feelings of betrayal and anger toward the adults in her life – could not bring herself to meet the volunteers or thank them. However, this heartbreaking time turned out to be transformational for Jean. Inspired by the volunteers’ unconditional kindness – even though she was unable to express gratitude – Jean decided that she was going to live a good, successful life and would become one of the “helpers” who had a positive impact on others. This outlook has shaped her approach to leadership throughout her career.
Purpose as a key quality of effective leaders
Jean explains that while we often attribute a person’s success to external factors, such as their education or connections, it actually has more to do with internal factors – whether they know what they want and are willing to put in the work to get it. Internal factors also play a major role in determining how committed employees are to their organizations and their jobs. Jean mentions that particularly at a time when we’re hearing a lot about the “Great Resignation,” it’s important to remember that people ultimately don’t leave jobs because of external factors such as salary, but because of a lack of purpose.
As leaders, we can help our teams cultivate a stronger sense of purpose by first getting clear on our own “why.” If you are struggling to define your purpose, Jean suggests asking yourself, “What can I do all day long and never get tired of?” What are the activities that energize you? She also proposes a simple exercise in which you text 5-7 people who know you well and ask them to list three things that you’re good at and one thing you could improve upon. Then, after reviewing your strengths, choose one that you enjoy and focus your energy on becoming amazing at it.
In addition to purpose, another essential quality of effective leaders is the ability to earn their team’s trust. Jean cites a Harvard Business Review study in which 58% of respondents said that they would trust a stranger on the street more than their own boss. This is a troubling statistic because if employees can’t trust their leader, they are not likely to go above and beyond in their roles. Jean mentions that one way to build trust with your team is to allow yourself to be vulnerable with them and give yourself permission to learn and grow every day.
Dealing with resistance from team members
No matter how effective you are as a leader, you may encounter some individuals who resist the team’s goals and create an impediment to success. In this situation, Jean suggests following the “3 T’s”:
Train. It’s possible that the individual wants to support the team’s success, but simply didn’t receive proper training to do so in the first place.
Transfer. For best results for both the team and the individual in question, you may need to transfer them to a different role or department that would be a better fit.
Terminate. Sometimes, the only solution is to terminate the individual from your organization. Otherwise, their resistance will become toxic for the team and prevent everyone from achieving optimal results.
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