Tag Archives: success

Marine Corps. Leadership: Know Your People and Look Out For Their Welfare

Effectively utilizing a team is like putting together a puzzle. Each pieces has a proper place.

Effectively utilizing a team is like putting together a puzzle. Each pieces has a proper place.

“Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.” – Calvin Coolidge

In any position of leadership, success is dependent on the team. Teams can only rise to the level of their leadership. This does not happen automatically, but rather with intentional investment from the leader.

An effective team is diverse, this is where leading a team can become overwhelming. Leaders must observe each team member, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and comfort zones. We must use this information to effectively assign tasks, responsibilities, and exercises for growth. If we can accomplish this responsibility, those we lead will experience success individually and as a team.

Knowing each of our team members is only the start of the process.

As our team develops we must make sure we:

1. Know their morale: If the morale of your team is low, getting it back up must be a priority. Morale is connected with momentum. If morale is low, expect momentum to be minimal.  Improved morale must come before increased momentum.

2. Celebrate their success: We must not let success go unnoticed. What gets celebrated gets repeated. If we want our team to continue in its development, we must make sure we celebrate the success of the team as well as the success of the individual.

3. Cultivate honesty: We must create an environment that removes the fear of owning up to a lacking or wrong doing, while maintaining the integrity of proper consequences. As leaders, our responses must be controlled, and our judgments must be just.

4. Encourage self-improvement: As stated earlier, what gets celebrated gets repeated. Utilize incentive programs for self-improvement. Also, develop accountability into the process. As the saying goes, “people do what you inspect, not what you expect.”

What else would you add?

What would you consider to be the most difficult part of leading a team?

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Leadership is: Winning

Celebrating wins is guarding against failures

“A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning” Pat Riley

It is possible to turn winning, experiencing success, into a habit; unfortunately, the same is also true for losing. In today’s world the difference between winning and losing is the same difference between having a job and finding yourself unemployed.

If we want our teams to develop a habit of winning, as leaders we must consistently do these three things:

  1. Recognize wins – Wins come in all shapes and sizes, and we must allow our idea of what a win is to change with our circumstances. We can simplistically define a win as any action or result that moves us towards our goal. When we start to define wins this way, we will be able to recognize more of them.
  2. Celebrate wins – Recognizing a win is only the first part of making winning a habit. Our next step is celebrating the wins. When someone’s actions moves us closer to our goals, celebrate it. Celebrations can be as simple as publicly praising them in front of the team, writing them a thank you card, bragging on their work and effort.*NOTE: You get more of what you praise, be sure to celebrate moving closer to the goal rather than the specific action. If you praise the specific action you will get more of that action, not necessarily actions moving you towards the goal.
  3. Create wins – Sometimes we have team members that are struggling to win, or even worse, struggling to believe they can win. When we create wins for team members we help cultivate their habit of winning. Creating wins can be done a number of ways. Here are a couple of ideas: Allow that team member to take the final step that completes a project, and then brag about their finishing touches; Set them up with an easily achievable task. This isn’t cheating, this is helping them establish the momentous habit of winning.

Few people are motivated enough to reach their goals on their own, let alone someone else’s goals for them. If our teams are going to consists of winners we must help cultivate a winning mentality.

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Leadership is: Selfless

"You have to give up, to go up" - John Maxwell

To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness. – Benjamin Franklin

There has been much said recently about Steve Jobs and his style of leadership, love it or hate it, we should all learn what we can from it. In a Harvard Business Review article, Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, (@WalterIsaacson) writes, “I once asked [Steve Jobs] what he thought was his most important creation, thinking he would answer the iPad or the Macintosh. Instead he said it was Apple the company. Making an enduring company, he said, was both far harder and more important than making a great product.”

In a way, Steve Jobs was a servant leader. I won’t go as far as to say that he was the kind of leader that we would all want to follow. In fact I believe that Steve Jobs was a special kind of leader that influenced special kinds of followers. Isaacson writes, “One of the last times I saw him, after I had finished writing most of the book, I asked him again about his tendency to be rough on people. ‘Look at the results,’ he replied. ‘These are all smart people I work with, and any of them could get a top job at another place if they were truly feeling brutalized. But they don’t.’ Then he paused for a few moments and said, almost wistfully, ‘And we got some amazing things done.'”

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