The 5 keys to Team Harmony-Key #1 of 5

Sep 19, 2022


Over the course of 15 years of building businesses and crossing oceans, there are 5 common attributes to a sustainable and high functioning team.  These elements are essential and if any of them are ignored, the team disbands and falls apart.


Key #1-

Role model and lead from within

Success is not stumbled upon very often, it is iterated and pursued until found.  This success can be replicated in others only by the proper demonstrations.  As a leader, we must not only speak but we also must embody these attributes and skills.  This means setting aside the concern that others will be in competition for us once trained (fear based approach).  This means embracing certainty in ourselves in order to inspire it in others.  This becomes evident in not only what we say but how we say it.  Incongruency between words and action breeds confusion and mistrust thus the leader must step into the role and lessons fully and completely for real knowledge transfer to occur.  This knowledge transfer can only become a skill once it is repeated, a process that takes time and needs demonstration-just telling an employee to ‘do this’ without being shown is not a recipe for success.

For example, I made the decision to build a company and team around caring and support of each other.  I got in the habit of regularly reaching out to my team members and specifically asking them ‘what’s in your way?.’ At first, the answers were on the superficial level such as ‘well could you make it stop raining?’ or ‘if I just had this one part’ and eventually once I proved to them that I would deliver on whatever they needed, I started to earn more trust and show my care.  On top of delivering parts and tools, I delivered ibuprofen to stem headaches, I delivered extra clothing to bring warmth during inclement weather, and more.  I was able to show them that I took their road blocks seriously, that their problems were my solutions.  I built and earned trust, bringing forth caring through demonstrating care myself.  At one point the answer to ‘what do you need?’ was answered with ‘RED BULL.’  Of course I rolled up on the jobsite with a bag full of them to a chorus of cheers and hollers!

Leaders also need to be sure to limit hierarchy (perceived or otherwise) in the team, dispelling the perception that the leader is ‘above’ certain tasks.  The sustainable leader will embrace the remedial jobs as well as the complex high level tasks.  On my team, everyone cleaned up and carried materials- no exceptions.  As a Master Electrician and business owner, I would often pull up on jobsites and find a nasty crawlspace or attic and jump right in there- thus showing to the rest of the team that I was ready to get dirty and on their same level.  My intention of this was also to show the team members that just as I was on their level, they could be on my level as well.  It was true that I was signing their paychecks, it was also true that I wore the same shirts and used the same tools, and got dirty on the same jobs on a regular basis.  Breaking the stereotype of the hard headed construction boss was a welcome breath of fresh air for my crew and leading from within the group as opposed to above or outside of it brought immense alignment and collective traction towards our goals.

I found that an enormous unexpected benefit of this was that when my confidence was shaken and I was challenged by nasty weather or difficult site conditions, the team was ready to push through it given the habit of perseverance and solution oriented thinking.

Modeling fully: in action and deeds, knowledge transfer occurs faster and with more depth than simply ‘do as I say.’  Its not just ‘do as I do and do as I say’, it is ‘do HOW and WHY I say’

Limiting hierarchy/leading from within: leaders build a bond that pulls everyone together and in the end the team becomes greater than the sum of the parts.  This momentum and intention creates a team that can pull the leader through tough situations again and again.

How is your leadership working for your team?