How does a leader turn a group of very different personalities into a cohesive unit who’ll work together to achieve a common goal? Plenty of managers out there who are struggling to inspire their team members to work together more effectively wish they knew – but the secret is actually very simple.
After World War II, the US military commissioned the Harvard historian F. L. A. Marshall to do a remarkable study. He was asked to research why men are willing to die in a war. Marshall expected that the answer might be patriotism: that men would die for their country, or family; that they would fight and die to protect their wives and children. But the answer that finally emerged was small group integrity. In a group of people in which each is truly committed to the other no one will be the first to run, so they all stand and fight together.
The same principle applies to companies and businesses today. As a manager, as a leader, your courage is tested every single day. In ways large and small, company leaders are challenged to make tough decisions in an atmosphere of uncertainty, of change, of high competition and increasingly high stakes. How do you inspire the kind of mission-driven cohesion that allows your team members to work as one and propel your efforts forward?
‘The skillful general conducts his army as though he were leading a single man by the hand.’ —SUN TZU
A wise leader leads in the same way, and by “wise”, I’m not just talking about business smart, because an effective leader also needs social skills and emotional intelligence.
A true leader has and displays knowledge, aptitude and character and tries to move the organization from where it is today to where that leader wants it to be tomorrow – but not without her moving people first. I’ve always said to all my employees, “The minute you stop learning every single day when you come to work, it’s time to move on”.
Move people to their destination first and the company will move with them. Imagine moving all your company’s employees’ efforts towards their dreams; toward enhancing their careers first. Focus more on your team members than on yourself, and your business will automatically go there.