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Team building can be uncomfortable for many long-term managers. It’s not that they can’t change their status quo, it’s just that the thought of coaching a team is, well frankly, it’s work; work they may either feel is not necessary or may not feel they have enough time to accomplish such a lofty ideal.
One particular type of employer will hire based on experience. The belief is that by hiring ‘experience’ the employer will be required to invest less time and money in the long-term. The employee is expected to simply assume their role and operate on their own without much notice from the boss. While some employees like this freedom, most can’t work up long-term enthusiasm for the job without some help from the coach.
The truth is the employer may be very happy with the hire, but the employee never really knows where things stand because the boss rarely talks to them.
This employee might only hear from the boss at company gatherings or if they happen to mess up enough to capture the attention of the boss.
This valuable employee will rarely feel valued in this type of environment. They will simply exist wearing out the same rut day after day as they wonder what they got themselves into. Without some sort of connection with your employees, you can expect these team assets to migrate out of your system sooner rather than later.
This hiring philosophy follows the lines of the adage as applied to marriage, “I told you I loved you when we got married and I’ll let you know if that changes.”
In marriage, an occasional ‘I love you’ goes a long way in keeping interest alive. The same concept is true in business. A coach will take the time to notice the big plays made by their team members. They cheer them on and they make a big deal about the way the plays were executed.
This scenario requires that the coach pay attention to his or her team. It may also require the use of ‘assistant’ coaches to manage the details.
Many bosses do not think they can take time away from their administrative duties to pay much attention to anything, but that’s like saying the coach can’t be on the field calling in plays because he or she is trying to develop new plays.
Your team needs you on the field and if you look carefully, there are administrative duties that can be delegated to other coaches.
There are a lot of other great teams looking for players. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself what is keeping your team on the field. If you’re not sure what answer you can give, perhaps it’s time to head out to the field and reacquaint yourself with your team. They need you.
Imagine a father lifting his son onto his shoulders so he can see above the crowd if only for a brief moment. The son sees more than he ever could by watching the boots and hats from his boy-sized vantage point. That boy will always remember the feeling of being on top of the world.
This is the picture of a team leader in the process of team building. These men and women are called upon as mentors to lift their staff for moments that allow them to see beyond where they currently find themselves. Team leaders do this so their team members can see a bigger picture and visualize where they need to go.
This is the same idea when you hear the phrase, “I can’t see the forest for the trees.” When you are on the mountain top you can see where you need to go, but when you are in the trees all you can see are – trees – and you forget where you’re going and why you’re going there. In those moments it can be easy to either get lost or, at the very least, feel lost.
A good team leader knows that if he or she does their job right, some of their team will actually surpass them in skill and success. They realize the team members may change, but by investing in the personal and professional success of the team, others will be more interested in filling any vacancies left behind when team members venture out on their own.
The success of your team (past, present and future) ultimately becomes your success as you help develop a new generation of team players who are self-assured and committed to the concept of team.
The best-case scenario is that those team members remember what it was like to see the big picture and they will help a new generation of team members do the same.