The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving. Oliver Wendell Holmes
PM World Journal - Ten Critical Steps to Achieving Magnetic Leadership with Teams
PM World Journal Ten Critical Steps to Achieving Magnetic
Vol. II, Issue II – February 2013 Leadership with Teams
www.pmworldjournal.net Advisory Article by Dianne M. Durkin
Magnetic leaders inspire others to be the best they can be and to perform at optimal levels. They are a contagious force that clearly knows how to set the direction for a team or project. They are able to clearly, concisely and consistently communicate the plan so that individuals become engaged and empowered to perform at their best individually and as a team.
A magnetic leader understands a T.E.A.M. brings out the best in everyone because:
Together Everyone Achieves More
Magnetic leaders realize that leadership is an engine. It’s an engine that allows for team creativity and innovation in developing solutions to major business issues and implementing project goals and objectives. Magnetic leaders encourage every team member to bring their brains to work and fully engage and empower team members to think outside the box and contribute at their best. Magnetic leaders look to the future and think through how their actions or the team’s actions will affect longer term results.
Below are 10 steps to help leaders achieve maximum team results when working on specific projects:
1. Develop the Powerful Trio of Vision, Purpose and Values. The project vision needs to be stated clearly, concisely and consistently. The purpose needs to be simple. Goals, principles and values of how the team members are expected to behave and act should be set forth at the beginning of the project. In addition it is helpful to identify each team member’s strengths and areas for development. In this way their strengths can be utilized to their maximum.
2. Identify the Team Behavioral Styles. Every individual is unique and has different needs and reactions to stress and pressure. Magnetic leaders help team members understand their individual styles and focus the energies of each team member to achieve the overall goals and objectives set forth for the project.
3. Track Your Leadership Progress. Twenty-one consecutive days of doing the same thing changes behaviors. I therefore encourage leaders to keep a leadership log for 21 consecutive days. If you miss a day, you break the pattern and need to start over. The answers to the following 5 questions should be documented in the log:
What leadership traits did I exhibit today?
Was I flexible? Did I adjust my style to work more effectively with others?
How have I built my trust bank with others?
Did I stop and listen versus react?
What was my modus operandi, and was it appropriate for the situation?
At least once per week you should review your responses and reflect on your learnings and changes in behavior. The results will surprise you. You will be permanently changing patterns.
4. Recruit and Retain the Right People. This begins with an exercise of identifying what makes an individual successful in the particular team environment you are recruiting for. Most answers will include flexibility, team perspective, listening and questioning mindset, optimism, etc. Notice there is little mention of particular skills. It is more about attitude and personal attributes of the candidates. So the big question is:
How do you hire for these characteristics?
It’s all in the listening and questioning process. It’s important to ask general open-ended questions that reveal who the candidate really is and what motivates them.
Tell me about the best team/ project experience you’ve ever had.
What made it so good?
What role did you play in the overall success?
In recruiting the best, a leader must remember the candidates have criteria and they are evaluating the position on the team or whether they are interested and passionate about the project. Determining a person’s criteria can be achieved by asking candidates:
“What questions do you have for me?” Their first question provides you with an indication of what is of prime importance to them.
5. Engage, Empower & Enrich Your Team Members – Ask and listen are keys to this step of becoming a magnetic leader. When you ask individuals for their ideas and approaches to a particular project and make them part of the solution, they are energized and much more committed to the team’s and project’s success. Make each team member feel their ideas are realized and you will see smoother and faster project implementations.
6. Create a Work Environment that Fosters Creativity and Innovation – Having a space where team members can take a deep breath or regroup before jumping back into deadlines, discussions and distractions is key. What about an inviting bean bag chair that is great for impromptu brainstorming sessions or a lounge area with couches for a quick coffee break and discussion with fellow team members?
7. Appreciate and Reward Your Team Members – When milestones are met (big or small), they need to be recognized. This provides momentum to move forward to the next challenge. Individual recognition of team members needs to be sensitive to style differences. Some people really enjoy public recognition while others prefer private acknowledgment.
8. Focus on Things that Inspire Your Team – The individual approach is also important with this step. Some people are inspired by education and learning new things, others by the newest technology and others by having a balanced life. Learn what it is for each of your team members and focus on those things.
9. Improve the Most Important Things First – It’s important to be able to identify the things that are impacting you and your team’s progress and address those issues head on. Continually ask the question, “Is there anything holding us back from achieving even more success than we have today?” This is continual improvement – a concept magnetic leaders practice daily.
10. Visualize the Future – Describe in as much detail as possible the ideal team, the project results and your successful management of the team. Visualization is known to bring incredible results with athletes, magnetic leaders and now you!
Practice these steps and energize the inner powers of your teams despite the outer pressures!