Ask not what your country can do for you ...

There is much written about toxic leadership behaviours and the types of environments and conditions that companies must create in order to give their employees the best possible chance of success. There is little written about the behaviours required to be a good employee or team mate. Somebody I once worked for used to use the phrase:

“To give respect is to earn respect.”

Creating high performance team is a two venture with the emphasis not only on leaders but also with team members taking responsibility for their own behaviours, environment and performance.

General Stan McChrystal, in his book Leaders, draws the conclusion that throughout history most significant moments are not the result of a single decision or the actions of a single great leader but rather the product of a whole series of events colliding in a single result or action. One key factor in effective leadership is in fact effective followership.

In other words are the team stepping up as individuals and collectively?

It is the responsibility of any leader to know their team and create a safe space for them to operate in. It is equally the responsibility of the team to support the leader and create an environment of trust where leaders are confident in focussing on the future and taking a team forward rather having to fight fires.

As a high performance follower I try to ask myself the following questions

  • Am I being a part of the solution and working towards what can be achieved?
  • Do I seek solutions that benefit the outcome of my team even if not me personally?
  • Do I seek to relieve pressure on those faced with challenging decisions knowing that this will enable them to make the best possible decision for all of us?
  • Am I a facilitator or a gatekeeper?

Having been a leader since I left school it can be incredibly isolating and lonely, often when the stakes are highest. The greatest comfort always comes from seeing my team thrive and the greatest compliment is trust but that has to be a two way thing … The way we follow is as critical as the way we lead ...