“The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.” –Tony Dungy
I once heard of a business leader who was fond of saying he was constantly trying to work himself out of a job. When pressed on the meaning of the enigmatic phrase, he said it related to his perceptions of team development. The better his team was at performing their job duties, the less they needed him for guidance in day-to-day matters. When he had developed a team that no longer required his leadership, he had effectively “worked himself out of his job.” Any of his team members could seamlessly step into his job role, and both he and the team members could advance to the next challenge.
This point may never come with some teams, but what a grand example of servant leadership. Working your way out of a job is not the path of least resistance for a leader. It’s infinitely easier to ding team members on their missteps and show your superiors how you’ve held the team accountable. While accountability is a necessary component of any team, accountability for the sake of covering one’s lack of team development is a copout.
To be a true leader, one must check his ego at the door and embrace the notion that team successes are personal leadership successes as well. One must not be threatened by a team member’s individual achievements. Rather, true leaders recognize their measure of success is based on how well their team performs. That requires “working yourself out of a job,” and in doing so, you will be working yourself into your next job.
Team Successes Are Leader Successes: Accelerators
- In what areas can your team excel if you were todevelop them and let them go?
- How can you make the lives of your team membersbetter?
- Make a plan to improve the lives of your teammembers, to develop them to their fullest potential,and then step back and let it happen.
Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Field Guide” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide.” He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor and Innovation Junkie, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas. Jeff helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at InnovationJunkie.com.