Hiking can be done alone; there is a time and place for everything. Yet, in general, the fun part of the journey—on the trail and in business—is time spent with others. Who are you taking with you? That is also part of leadership—taking others along with you. I can see some scowls in the audience. “Do I have to take my team with me?” If you want to do it right, then, yes, and you will grow from it. Hiking with people allows for conversation, camaraderie, and support, not to mention friendly (though sometimes useless) chatter. Sounds like some team meetings some of you have attended, right?
Having the right team can make all the difference. Some of you might be saying, “I don’t get to choose my team, so how do I make it work?” Well, if leadership were easy, anyone could do it. The idle chatter on the trail and in family business is an opportunity to learn more about those you hike with—what motivates them, how and why they struggle. The more you understand, the more you can help them grow, and you grow as a result.
Take a closer look at the role you fill on your team. First, fire yourself. Now figure out what the classified ad would look like if you were hiring someone to take your place. For example:
• What background should they have?
• What should their attitude be?
• How will they work with others?
• What kind of work ethic should they have?
• Do they invest in professional development or rest on their laurels?
Walk through this person’s qualifications and conduct. Now for the big question: Would you hire yourself? If not, can you now see what changes you need to make? Make a decision to be the person you would want replacing you. Now hire yourself back and be that.
Ask questions whose answers will show what you can do to support your team members’ success. When individual team members become successful, the team will be successful. As a result, you will be successful. Building or shaping a successful team takes time, energy, and patience. Most managers simply aren’t up for the challenge. They want the easy way—excuses. They don’t want to bother growing themselves, let alone somebody else. It is “above their pay grade.” Really it is just beyond their desire to succeed.