In America, we tend to honor the individual. It’s built into our culture and we celebrate our accomplishments as if we achieved them by ourselves. There is just one problem with this kind of thinking: it’s not true.
Individuals guide great companies, but teams build them. This is a belief that business leadership coach, John Keyser, discusses with several clients at Common Sense Leadership. John works full-time helping executives discover their ideal management styles, understand personal strengths and opportunities for growth in corporate leadership.
“Executives and entrepreneurs spend a lot of time focusing creating fun organizational cultures and harmony with employees, but these are not the most important characteristics of a strong, winning team,” noted Keyser. “Meeting the needs of individual employees and building strong relationships that bring people together rank very high on the list.”
Here are a few key points that Keyser feels that everyone interested in leadership should know, regardless of their level.
Performance reviews and promotion decisions are shaped by team feedback.
The power and prevalence of 360-degree reviews are on the rise. Organizations are realizing that effective teams have people who fulfill their roles, while making positive contributions to everyone around them. If you want to rise to senior levels of leadership you need get the support of your peers, those who report to you and your company’s most senior executives, who may ultimately make the actual decision. Thinking and working in a 360-degree way will show that you are committed to the advancement of the team. People will respect that, note it in reviews and respond in kind.
Team members want to feel appreciated.
Appreciation and recognition go a long way towards creating employee loyalty. According to Keyser, over 70 percent of team members leave jobs because they feel underappreciated. Working to show appreciation for team members’ work keeps employees on board longer and provides leaders with more time to co-create the strategy for success.
Growth is at the top of the list for employee needs and wants.
Keyser recently conducted a survey on what employees want from their bosses, and one of the most common responses was: “I wish my boss would help me learn, grow and succeed.” Everyone wants to do good work and be successful, and there is an expectation that senior management will help in this pursuit. Without this support, team members’ spirits dampen, and they will either give less than their best effort or look for a place to work where they feel like people are actively supporting their success.
Being a strong leader is not an easy task. It requires great energy and an understanding of how to support the needs of the individual, while supporting the creation of a lasting team. The entrepreneurs and executives who master these skills will have the great opportunity to guide successful teams that bring real impact to their marketplace and the world.
James S. Walker (@jaywalk1) is a Washington, D.C.-based digital strategy and public relations manager, leading digital strategy creation and execution for a mix of corporate and nonprofit clients at APCO Worldwide. Intrigued by how social and cultural insights connect people on a global level, Walker has completed long-term project assignments in China and Mongolia, and chronicles his thoughts on the industry via his blog, PR Prescriptions, and Website, Socially Diverse.