Leadership is a People Business

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders learn by leading, and they learn best by leading in the face of obstacles. As weather shapes mountains, problems shape leaders. ~ Warren G. Bennis  

The pace of change challenges leaders to be bold. But the unpredictability of bold actions can cause fear and anxiety within a leader’s team, inhibiting them and potentially compromising the expected outcome. For such actions to be successful, it becomes a leader’s priority to minimize the team’s stress, to help them become more agile, and to confirm that their leader has their back. 

Leaders can boost their team’s resilience and help them shine in tough circumstances with these tactics:

·        Clarify the Goal: Ask your team, “What are we trying to accomplish by our actions and why is this important?” When people are engaged with a clear, meaningful goal, they are more likely to see a challenge as an opportunity, and to show greater resilience in their efforts to achieve the goal. Help your team envision a successful outcome and how it will feel to win; then, warn them that there will be peaks and valleys on the journey towards that outcome. 

·        Know Your Team: Your people are your most sustainable competitive advantage. Get to know them, and use that knowledge to help them feel valued. Teams make a choice to follow a leader, deciding to follow one they believe is credible (experienced, walks the talk) and authentic (values-based, vulnerable). Investing time to build a human connection with each member of your team builds a solid foundation for the times when you really need your team to power through an extreme situation. If you want a resilient team, you need to build one. Make an effort to understand what drives your teammates. 

·        Respect the Challenge: Taking bold action will test your team, so prepare them for the challenge. Overcoming obstacles will take courage, tenacity, integrity, perseverance, and flexibility. Managing the chronic stress related to acting boldly will require resilience. Without your consistent support and trust, your team will not succeed. 

Leadership is a people business; bold leaders always put their team first. They inspire their teams to take risks and to invest the extra effort required to act boldly in pursuit of aspirational goals, while keeping their health, sanity, and humor intact. Feeling valued and supported enables team members to follow their leaders in taking bold actions.

How do you engage with your team to achieve bold goals?

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