Do you think the leader makes the team or does the team make the leader? Wow, isn’t that an interesting question? I’m sure there are people that believe the leader gathers the crew because he/she selects the members. And that could be an accurate response. Then there are those that support the idea that the group makes the leader. Well, both answers are somewhat correct. However, I am of the belief that “You are only as good as your team”. Let’s look into this further.
First and most important; what constitutes a team? It is a group of people working together to achieve a common goal. So, if there are any issues within the group that hinders them working together for the common goal then truthfully it really isn’t a team.
Assembling the Crew
Let’s think about the making of the group. Who really selects the players? I don’t believe it is the leader all the time. But it could be. Isn’t it the manager and/or supervisor that hires the players? If that is the case, is this person automatically the leader? The answer to that question is “NO” because there is a big difference between
a manager and leader. There are leaders who are managers but not all managers are automatically leaders. Yet, both are trying to achieve a common goal. Some managers control and direct the staff but they really aren’t leaders. And then there are managers that nurture and train the individuals. These are leaders. To further understand the difference between a manager and a leader, I recommend you read this article. So, if the manager uses leadership skills, then the leader did assemble the group.
A Manager Leading a Team
Many managers and/or supervisors believe they are a good team leader. And it might even give that appearance. But let’s dig a little deeper. First, does the manager direct or guide the individuals? There’s a big difference. What are the traits of the group? Do the members trust the manager? Or are they reluctant to speak openly with the manager? A manager can be reluctant to discipline individuals. Many times they address the entire group regarding the problem instead of addressing the issue with the culprit. Do the members take their concerns to that manager? Or are they selective with what they say and ask? I have seen people say “Be careful what you say and who hears you”. Wow, that doesn’t sound like a cohesive group. It sounds like a team within the so-called team. Yet, this same group of people can do and excellent job and make the manager look good. They can also, not care too much and make the manager not look so good. So, in this scenario, isn’t the manager only as good as his team? I’ve actually seen situations like this where the manager actually believes he is a leader.
A Leader Leading the Team
When the manager is truly a leader, he/she nurtures the group. They teach the players what to do. He/she listens to their problems. They might not fix their problems but explains why he can’t. He/she explains the goals to them. They are consistent with all the players on the team. He/she isn’t afraid to discipline the appropriate person when necessary. They manage the process and not their time. He/she asks for their help with certain situations. He/she trust his team and the team trusts him. Yet, like the manager leading the group, the leader is only as good as his team. Read this blog to see good leadership overruled by a bad management decision in a given situation.
When I was in charge of Operations, I would ask a manager the following two questions:
Do you think you are a good manager/leader? I would also ask for examples to support their answer.
How do you think the people you manage/lead would answer that question? Again I would like some examples.
My intention with these questions was to get them to think that it didn’t matter what he/she thought of how they managed/lead. It mattered what the team thought of them. I wanted them to lead their team versus manage the people. Make everyone a winner. The team will automatically shine and make the leader look good. A leader like that is an asset to any company.
So, do you want to work for the manager or the leader? Don’t you want to work for someone you can trust and in return, they trust the team members?