If you’re on a team or lead one, how can tension be a good thing?
This week, Michael asks, “How can I bring out the best from those on my team?” Great question. Over the years, I’ve worked with many teams and studied how great leaders guide them. It’s an art form, really, a subtle tug of tensions involving both push and pull.
The push of expectations, competition, and goals, plus impending deadlines, provide motive power to drive achievement and growth. Without push, you lack direction and lose speed.
However, in my view, the pull of teamwork is even more critical. Pull comes from a clear and compelling objective, as well as the sense of being needed and appreciated. Pull happens when your best qualities are seen, enhanced, and put to use, as well as when you learn new ones. Especially, pull comes from a leader who embodies the qualities you admire and seek to emulate.
The tension of pushing a team, while creating pull, requires awareness and constant communication. Reinforce what’s essential and why. Recognize excellence when you see it. Keep goals and timelines top of mind. And realize how you speak, what you do, and how you live either add to or subtract from your influence. Teach what you know, and learn what you don’t.
If your team is broken or stuck in poor patterns, it may take an event or significant moment to change things. Or, you may need to change the team. Otherwise, activate those you work with by applying careful push and constant pull.
I hope that helps, Michael, and all of us, for the teams we serve and the teams we may lead. Until next week, stay Off Balance On Purpose.