Are you an A class leader or not?
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, writing for the Harvard Business Review in his article entitled, “How to manage a team of B Players,” lays it out nicely.
Tomas uses the 2004 Greek soccer team who won the European Championship as an example. The team had players most people, who followed European soccer, didn’t recognize. None were superstars yet they beat teams with superstars.
Maybe you’ve seen examples in your career or personal life where extraordinary things were done without superstars. That takes an A class leader.
A short story from my personal life…
I married into a family of very talented and exceptional theater people, teachers, singers, and actors. I noticed early on when plays and musicals were fun and entertaining and when they droned on. I also noticed how my mother-in-law who was a theater director for many years could take young high schoolers (some not so talented) in a musical and turn the musical into an exceptional production. I also witnessed talented professionals in plays that didn’t work that well. What was the difference?
Harvard Business Review points out there’s a “great deal of scientific evidence suggesting that the determinants are psychological factors—in particular, the leader’s ability to inspire trust, make competent decisions, and create a high-performing culture where selfish agendas of the individual team members are eclipsed by the group’s goal.”
“Your leadership matters even more. You have to be an A class leader; otherwise your team will have no chance.”
Cut to the chase
Here’s what an A class Leader brings to the game.
Vision. A clear vivid picture of the future with a winning strategy. The vision and associated goals are clear crisp and do not waver or change. No “vision-of-the-month club” or vagueness allowed here!
Analytics. You have to be armed with accurate timely data. The data driven feedback must be accurate or the credibility tanks. Data removes the politics, emotional reactions and opinions. It is just the facts.
Feedback. Clear concise and accurate feedback can improve performance by 25% according Meta-analytical studies referenced by Tomas. Team members can regulate their efforts to optimize their focus for improving performance.
Morale. This creates engagement. Individuals must be engaged. What trumps the individual is team morale. Team morale helps each individual raise the performance of others on the team. It truly becomes a team effort. Team members become friends and help each other succeed.
A few more on the list
Personally I’d a add a few more to the list Tomas assembled for an A class leader.
Shared Values. When a team shares values, the decisions, direction and actions become easier to resolve and execute. There is less debate about the “right way” to do things.
Goals. A set of clear SMART goals that “fit” into the vision that define what needs to be accomplished to reach the vision.
Common area. An informal place to meet and go over successes and failures, to work out next steps and build teamwork. It also adds a sense of accountability when people are asking each other about their results.
Constant Communication. Constantly keep the prize (the vision) in front of the team whether it is market domination, hitting sales goals or winning a championship. It becomes inspiring as the team’s struggles turn into small wins and those small wins then turn into bigger wins. The constant communication also keeps the wins and losses clearly in focus so possible solutions can be explored and prioritized.
Continuous Improvement. Each person knows their job and strives for continuous improvement of their performance. The team members are chosen and trained to complement each other. Intra-team competition is minimized.
What do you think should be on the list to create the magic of an A class leader?
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