Building a strong team takes time, demands a lot of hard work, and requires specific skills that need to be learned. Leadership is not unlike being a Blacksmith, hence the name choice. It used to take about ten years as an apprentice to learn how to become a Blacksmith because of the specific techniques and material properties they needed to learn to craft useful objects out of metal. Oh, and you had to get pretty amazing at swinging a hammer.
Swinging a hammer over and over in the heat of the forge isn’t easy or all that glamorous after an hour or two.
Neither is leadership.
It is often easy to glamorize being a leader. Just do a Google search for “Leader,” and you will see images of dapper looking leaders pointing their team to brilliant ideas in glass offices. Here’s one:
Sure this scenario does happen for leaders, but the truth is the bulk of leadership is far less exciting and requires a lot more than just being charismatic and visionary. Research shows that being consistent with your values and support for your team are just as important, if not more important. In Jim Collins book “Great by Choice,” he writes that successful leaders “were not more risk taking, more bold, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons. They were more disciplined.”
This is because consistency has a greater and longer lasting impact than a dynamite 15-minute pitch. This can be humbling if you are just finding out that your success as a leader is defined more by the cumulation of small moments, than what took place in the last quarterly meeting. At Teamsmith, we believe that there is tremendous opportunity in this concept. This means that with hard work and humility any manager can grow into a world class leader.
To see what consistency looks like, picture this – you are sitting at your desk 20 minutes after you promised you would be home, trying to respond to an important email from your boss. The phone rings. It isn’t your boss, but you do have to take the call. Before you hang up the call, one of your employees starts standing by the door waiting for you to get off the phone. How do you find the balance between the stakeholders in your professional life and personal life?
Day in, day out, day after day – how do you consistently meet your team’s needs?
The story above about the manager getting sidetracked from an important email by a phone call, only to get sidetracked again was me. Yes, Sidetracked from a Sidetrack. I am guessing you know the feeling. It is when you leave work with more items on your list than when you came in. More unread emails. More people waiting on you. That was me, and we know that is often you too. The constant push and pull of your deliverables, your team’s needs, and your personal life.
When you are in this situation it is hard to consider leaving the office for a full day for a training. Many new managers find themselves in a situation where they don’t know what they don’t know, and they certainly don’t have time to find out. This was true for me, even after getting an MBA from a reputable university. As a young CEO I was successful in leading the company to become the leader in the market, but I knew that I was not fully capturing my own opportunity to grow as a leader of my team.
At Teamsmith, we want to make sure that every manager is able to maximize their opportunity to not just ensure their company’s success, but also their own and their teams! It is true that the information most managers need is only a book or a conversation away, but finding the time to absorb it, and then put a plan in motion to bring it into their lives is extremely difficult. The right ideas aren’t enough, because knowledge not put into action is forgotten.
Change requires more than knowledge, it requires doing. Taking action is the first step to ingraining steps into your life that will lead to your success. Leadership is in fact a process. Like “smithing” metal. Developing the routines and productive habits of world class leaders is the best way to become a leader yourself. If you want to change in big ways, start by consistently changing in small ways. At Teamsmith we believe we found the key. We distill leadership essentials, place them on your schedule, and then provide tools so you can put ideas into action quickly and simply. Now as you go through your day these new high impact activities are queued up and introduced seamlessly into your workflow.
Now you can focus on executing and improving instead of figuring out what is the best thing to do right now.
You may have the title of manager, supervisor, or director, but you need to earn the title of leader. Being a leader isn’t easy, but we make it less difficult. When asked what it takes to be a successful, Don, a 63 year old career Blacksmith said, “You should be tenacious, with the ability to stick at something until you’ve done it.” The same is true for your personal growth. Success requires tenacity and consistency, especially when no-one is looking.
We know Teamsmith isn’t for everyone. Teamsmith is designed for the few brave leaders truly committed to being world class. If you are willing, motivated, and have the humility to realize you need to change in order to grow, you are ready to join Teamsmith.
Committed to your Success,
John and your Coaches at Teamsmith