Not too long ago, I spoke with someone who kept trying to convince me what a great “team player” he was. I went from being convinced to becoming rather skeptical. It seems to me that a real team player doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about the fact that they are a team player.
It made me think of some individual things that anyone can do to really improve their team.
- Find ways to lower the anxiety of your boss.
Everyone has a boss. Maybe it’s the Council, maybe it’s your department head, or maybe it’s the public. Either way, you have a boss, and your boss has anxiety over some things. Most of us spend a lot of time trying to lessen our own anxieties. That’s not a bad thing. However, if that’s all you do, you aren’t really helping anyone else. If you want to make a difference in your organization, ask your boss what his/her anxieties are and what you can do to diminish them.
- Find ways to use your gifts without holding things up because of your ego.
We all have different abilities, skills, perspectives, and talents. You can bring something to the table that no one else can, and what you bring can truly help your organization be successful. However, those unique talents have to be used to make any difference. Some people want the focus on themselves, rather than on the results. They want the organization to acknowledge what they can do. The problem is that there is not enough validation in the world to go around! Good leaders don’t get caught in the trap of wanting others to validate their talents. They are results oriented. On the other hand, some people use their talents to get results, and the results feed their ego. Because of what they’ve contributed, they are convinced that they have somehow earned extraordinary veto powers to new or different ideas. Team players don’t carry veto cards.
- Find ways to manage your micromanaging.
Sometimes in our efforts to be good leaders, we forget to manage our tendency to micromanage—and that leads to paralyzed employees, missed deadlines because they are trying to think of everything and anything that you will criticize, missed opportunities, and high turnover. It rarely occurs to the micromanager that he or she may be the problem. Max DePree said, “You have to abandon yourself to the strength of others.” That means that you don’t sabotage what others can do by micromanaging them so severely that they can’t do what they can do better than you. If you follow his advice, you’ll be free to do best what only you can do, and that’s what makes a great leader.