“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams
My last blog focused on the success of a team. The question was raised about the role of the coach or leader of that team and if I could expand on this. While I can’t comment on the exact strategy the Hawthorn coach adopts, I can certainly draw on my observations and the experience I’ve had working with and running my own successful teams.
You will have heard of the saying “The fish rots from the head down.” Not a pretty quote but certainly an accurate one. It’s a leaders role to create the right environment for his or her team to ensure the right collective attitude, belief, culture, commitment and action. Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination but certainly achievable.
If you think about the Hawks, that club has such belief, such an attitude of success that they will sacrifice other areas of their life, commit to the dream and do what it takes to be part of the club. You can also draw on the success of the Australian Netball Team and the Women’s Cricket Team. Each team is a tightly knit unit. There are no rogues.
So what does the Captain, Coach, Leader need to do? I’ve broken it down into 3 key areas that are critical to the success of any business. You can adopt this to your situation whether you are the business owner, a leader within a business or whether you’re a solopreneur. The principles are all the same.
Clarity on the big picture and what that means for the business and the team. What success looks like, how it feels, what it sounds like. Ensuring all the tangibles and intangibles are understood and have meaning to each individual member of the team. The Captain, Coach, Leader is the salesman here. You need to sell this story to your team so they buy it, so they believe in it, so there is no question that they want to be part of it. You need to create the excitement so that the hair on the back of their neck stands on end and they have goose bumps on their arms! You need to paint the picture so clearly that they can see it, feel it and almost taste it. That team needs to be itching to get out there and be part of this thing you’re creating. You need to own it and lead it. This is your dream you’re selling to others.
You’re team is now so excited that they want, need and must understand how they can achieve! Once there’s clarity on the big picture, you can then start carving out the plan you will need to execute to achieve that vision. Once you have clarity in your direction, you can then empower your team with the strategy and delegate responsibility appropriately. Ensuring your communication is consistent and constant and that you are reinforcing a clear and concise message. Keep it as simple as possible and ensure that each individual understands the role they are playing and how they fit into the big picture. Chances are you’ve got a mixed bag of generations working for you. Some will be hungrier than others. Understand what you can leverage and where your team strengths are. Who will advocate for you, who are the leaders, who are your solid, consistent players and who needs further coaching?
90 Day Plan. Introducing a 90-day plan that breaks down the strategy into bite sizes achievable chunks is the last part of the puzzle. People need to understand the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ in order to deliver on and exceed expectation. Give them something to work with and towards. Empower them with the knowledge and know how. Instill belief and coach to their strengths. This is where the rubber hits the road. A vision and a plan without action is simply a wish. Once the plan is in play, the leader needs to ensure the measure of success is clear and also needs to understand when to be agile and flexible or when to be staunch to the plan. Your team should be ready willing and able now to get out there and do the things that are going to make the biggest difference in achieving the goal.
A great team thrives on clarity and with clarity motivation and confidence grows. It when you have all these things firing together that you will have success. Confidence is something you can’t buy, but it’s certainly something you can get enormous leverage from and one of those intangibles you want to embed within your team culture. The Hawks play on confidence. It’s so impressive and very admirable and a place you want to be playing from too.
That’s the role of a leader and coach. Make your team hungry for success. Empower them. Coach them. Create the environment for your team to succeed and excel. Ensure that when they run out onto that field, or on that court, they know and are confident in what they are doing and why. You’ll be proud to call them your team and then you can all enjoy the spoils of success.