Extreme ownership, the bedrock of an effective team

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No leader is endowed with the grace to ignore the result of his or her team. You might not like a person, but as long his or her outcome is contributing to your deliverables and help in retaining your position as a leader, you won’t have a choice than to accept the person. However, followers can ignore result by not committing to the group’s objectives in response to the environment or the mannerism of the leaders. Leaders are, therefore, responsible for outcome irrespective of limiting factors-be it within and outside the company. The leader must win the war within to achieve the result with his or her team.

Without contemplation and writing from the standpoint of conviction, the summation of your leadership effectiveness and the result you will deliver cannot be higher than the level of the ownership mentality of your team and their commitment to you the leader

Let’s use the change of baton between Jose Felix Mourhino and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United as an example. The same set of players that lost matches repeatedly won many games that gave the inexperienced Ole a good run of victory and landed him a full contract. What transformed the players without changes in the environment? It is the approach of the new manager that made the players take extreme ownership of the first set of matches under Ole to prove to the world that they are not average. That’s proof that the team can hold any manager into ransom. I have without repentance positioned that your team is your working tools. As a leader, you don’t throw a negative emotional tantrum to your devices without creating an intoxicating negative environment and outcome.

The external influence though powerful, cannot infiltrate your team if you are a leader with positive, objective and inspiring communication. Don’t get me wrong, positive communication doesn’t take your right to discipline and remove any erring team member. It was true that external motivation like the fanfare sent forth by the fans of Flamengo FC (in Brazil) for their players on their way to Argentina to play the River Plate FC in the Copa Libertadores helped the team to win. The effect will have been deflated if there is no extreme ownership and a strong bond between the coach and the team. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, what lies behind your team (past good or bad performance) and what lies ahead of your team (the year 2020 mountainous target or budget) are tiny matters compared to what lies within your team. What lies within your team is the bond and emotional chemistry you create purposefully and the influence of the emotion toward achieving the goals for the year 2020.

READ ALSO: Extreme ownership, the secret for sustainable productivity

Without contemplation and writing from the standpoint of conviction, the summation of your leadership effectiveness and the result you will deliver cannot be higher than the level of the ownership mentality of your team and their commitment to you the leader.

Here are my two commitments to you from last week’s article and as your lead investor in people. What makes teams arrive at the payoff ‘all it takes’ and do all to get the result irrespective of negative influence within or outside the organisation is how the team members see you. You are either seen as someone in the race with them, or an outsider (boss) whose aim to achieve personal results through the team without any assurance of moving the members forward in their journey.

One thing you shouldn’t do as a leader who is trying to build a bond and entrench extreme ownership is to condemn your budget or the decisions of higher authority for which you are part of or have access to above the team you are leading. I have seen leaders losing their credibility by criticising the organisations’ policies to get the sympathy of their team members.

Let’s be rational. Once, your team sees a lack of total commitment from you in terms of belief that the task at hand can be accomplished, they doubt your desire to lead them through the red sea. The smart members among them get off at the next available bus stop. So, do not expect your team to take ownership of your result and the process for achieving it if your body overture shows the tasks is impossible.

So, a leader must own the decision once he or she agree to execute it. If you cannot defend the target before it is cast to your team, you cannot complain after that but perform with your team. There are many ways to bond and make your teams to do all it takes for you. For wanting of space, I will share just one or two bond-creating tactics with you before honouring my second commitment.

In your communication with the team, be purposeful and positive toward the task and the result at hand. But as you communicate the need to achieve a result to the group either collectively or as individuals, you must connect in the process. It is the connection between you and your team members individually or collectively that drives the commitment required to think and act like the owners of the business. John C Maxwell, in his book everyone communicates, few connects defined connecting as the ability to relate to and identify with people in such a way that increases your influence with them. Connecting is by identifying with your staff personal and emotional situation, to identify them with the organisation by giving credits rather than taking all the credits and by helping them to cross the performance finish line while creating a fun-filled performance-oriented environment.

I put so much energy in connecting with the members of my team by adopting a unique strategy I never learnt from the books. In my morning commendation meetings, I used to call my team members who deserve commendation or whom I have placed a demand to repeat an extraordinary feat their middle names. I used that as the common ground to tell them; ‘I know you beyond your current performance and demanding more from you’. I put them first in everything, and they can count on me to seek first their ‘performance and welfare interest’ ahead of mine.

Another way to connect with your team that is imperative is to share the reward of the team’s effort with the team members. Leaders eat last, and if you eat first and fat all the time, your team will identify you as a glutton. No one voluntarily follows a glutton because they know it is all about him, not others. There are other ways of touching the hearts of your team members to make asking for their hands more natural and effective than you would ever imagine. I will share this in the subsequent edition of Positive Growth with Babs; keep reading this column.

Now to my concluding comments and lessons from the book, extreme ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Jocko and Leif wrote this book to share leadership lessons that can impact teams in all leadership situations involving teams that strive to achieve goals and accomplish objectives.

Most time, the problem with achieving our performance target is not lack of strategies for the purposes at hand but flawed executions. Poor execution is not necessarily unwillingness to take actions. However, in most cases, it is a failure to revise strategy, moderate deviations and create the right emotional atmosphere for synergy among the team members.

As I have often proclaimed, there is a need for the miracle of harvest for farmers who tilled, toiled and watered their crops. That miracle is not possible in the absence of cooperation among various elements-soils; qualify of seeds, weeding including rainfall which is outside the control of the farmers. In a familiar vein, irrespective of the favourable economic outlook, no team will attain a maximum level of efficiency and outcome where the aspirations, views and perspectives of the team members are not aligned with the task at hand. Thus, unity of purpose is essential for a concentration of efforts and display of extreme ownership.

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin want you as leaders to do the following;

Win the war within by aligning the team objectives with the individual aspiration of the members of your team. If not all the members, let the majority connect with you and be in a movement of people that can do all it takes for you or the organisation through your influence;

Remember there are no bad team but bad leaders who fail to influence the emotional, mental, physical and collaborative resources within the team. When leaders who epitomise extreme ownership drives their teams to achieve, the team performs well, and performance continue to improve because of the leaders’ influence;

Believe you are part of something bigger than you and your personal interest. Therefore, your drive should be beyond what benefits you only. Again, I will repeat myself without remorsefulness. Leaders don’t eat first, and fat without leaving a juicy part of the meal for the followers except the leaders want to lose his or her followership. In simple word, check your greed and ego level. Ego and greed clouds and destroy everything in the long run;

Encourage cover and move. Cover and move mean teamwork. There is no capable team without cooperation. All elements within the group are crucial and must work together to accomplish the mission, mutually supporting one another for that singular purpose; and

Prioritise execution, plan and re-plan. Decentralise command. Lead up and down the chain of command and beyond rhetoric, mean what you say and say what you mean when inspiring your team to help you out of the performance valley.

Conclusively, creating and leading effective teams is pivotal to your success as leaders except where you can go on the journey alone. If you can travel alone, then you don’t need any team. But if you have been made a leader to lead teams, exuding extreme ownership and putting your organisation ahead of your ego will transform your leadership effectiveness to a higher level and increase your result.

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