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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

7 Reasons Why Great Leaders Are Not Part Of Their Team

There has been so much emphasis, in recent years, on being a team player that many managers who work their way up through the ranks in an organization simply can't cut it as leaders. Why? Because no-one has taught them that once you are the leader you are no longer part of the team.

Let's look at seven reasons why great leaders are not members of their team.

(1) Vision

Jesus wasn't one of the apostles he was the reason that the apostles existed as apostles.

The leader has to create the vision that brings the team into existence and binds them together with a common sense of purpose. He or she is not part of that team they are above the team. The team exists to help the leader achieve the leader's vision.

Look into your history books to see who have had the greatest influences on the direction that the human race has gone and you will find it lists great individuals. You won't find any leaderless committees amongst the movers and shakers of our civilization

(2) Final Decision

Great leaders don't run their organizations on a majority rules system. Could you imagine Donald Trump running a referendum amongst his 20,000 employees to ask which way he should go on his major business decisions? If you think he does then "you're fired"!

Great leaders seek the counsel of their inner team but then they make the decision and the team abides by it.

(3) Familiarity breeds Contempt

It is important that the leader keeps some distance between himself or herself and the other members of the team. They can remain friendly but they should no longer be drinking buddies.

This is where so many internally appointed managers have problems. Before they were appointed as manager they were part of the team socially as well as at work. After they are promoted they try to continue as just one of the social set away from the office. It doesn't work.

Leaders socialize with other leaders not with the team. If you don't have what it takes to do that then you are not ready for the job.

(4) Hard Decisions

From time to time the leader will be required to make hard decisions that are not always popular with the team. One example of this is replacing a team member that is not up to scratch.

If the team is a good one then they have been trained to stick together and work as a unit. One potential problem with this is that they may not be objective in seeing the shortfall of one of their buddies. This sort of decision is best made from outside the team.

(5) Inspiration
The leader has to be able to inspire the team. In order to do this well the leader has to be perceived by the team members as being above the team. The good leader sets a higher level of example than any team member and they too have to see their role as being above the team.

(6) Disclosure

The good leader cannot always let the team know everything that is going on. The job of the team is to do their particular function to the best of their ability.

This is usually achieved by having them focus exclusively on that function and the desired outcome that was set by their leader. Giving the team too much information above and beyond that is likely to be an unwanted distraction to that focus.

The leader, on the other hand, may need to be aware of how their team's purpose fits into a larger picture. In order to keep these distractions away from the team the leader has to firmly believe that he or she is not part of that team and has no duty of disclosure to the team. The leader's duty is to the higher purpose.

(7) Morale

Part of the leader's role is to ensure that there is good team morale. The leader has to always convey strength and positive attitude to the team, regardless of what they may know of the difficulties that exist. Again this is best achieved if the leader knows in their heart that they are above the team and part of a greater purpose.

Leadership can be a very rewarding thing but it is also more isolated than the role of team member. For this reason it is very beneficial for a leader to be a part of a mastermind group but that is a discussion for another time.

Cheers to success

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