Leadership not only requires the confidence and know-how to navigate the triumphs and challenges in business, but also the ability to instill loyalty and dedication in a group of individuals. In today’s session, “Inspiring the Troops: Building a Team that Will Go to Battle for You,” panelists stressed a recurring theme—trust and empowerment are crucial to building and leading a great team. This dynamic group, who candidly shared with attendees, included: Karen Horne, SVP, Programming Talent Development and Inclusion for NBC Entertainment and Universal Television Studios; Dr. Rosalie Payne, Senior Director – Human Resources Policy & Compliance for Carnival Cruise Lines; and Kristyn Cook-Turner, Area Vice President for State Farm. Moderated by Black Enterprise’s Executive Managing Editor, Alisa Gumbs, the ladies outlined five key steps that will inspire your team to go the extra distance to accomplish the mission at hand.
1. Skills and personality need to complement each other.
“When you’re putting together a team, determine what you’re trying to achieve and what is required. Make sure you have the right expertise and right personalities,” says Payne.
2. Get to know and empower your team.
“Your team members should be smarter than you. I try to pick people who have a desire to further their careers and I do everything I can to help my staff achieve those goals,” shared Horne. Payne adds, “Get to know people every day by taking some time to take a walk. Have conversations.”
3. Trust is a two-way street.
“It’s our responsibility as leaders to tell the truth. You can say many things but it’s really about your actions, consistency, and being an authentic leader when things are going well—and not so well,” shares Cook-Turner.
4. Be Vulnerable
“Purpose- driven leadership is so important. In talks with my team, I take three important aspects of life and explain how it’s built my core values. I ask them about their purpose. After the exercise, it’s easy to find commonalities. By me becoming vulnerable, it opens the team up as well,” shares Cook-Turner.
“Your team needs to know you will go to battle for them. I show people that my actions are louder than my words, and that includes fighting for them internally. If they deserve a promotion, I go to HR to fight for it. I have a loyal group because they know I’ll fight for them,” states Horne.