IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP…
(BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE)
As a leader in your organization, do you feel somewhat alone with the weight of the world on your shoulders? If so, it’s probably because you feel the pressure of having to make the final decision. And you are accountable for results. Your team members may or may not agree with or support your decisions, yet they must be made. Your success depends on the outcome of those decisions and you and your team’s ability to execute and deliver on them.
There is a better way. Many leaders experience that, when reaching a certain executive level, success becomes less about their own capability and more how to galvanize and motivate others. No matter how smart, talented, or experienced you are, true achievement only comes with getting others to execute, deliver and win. Moreover, through an effective team, you can engage in a sense of shared ownership and commitment over decisions and goals. That's right; it doesn’t have to be so lonely!
A case in point: Ronald is Senior Vice President of a consumer goods company. He leads a large and high-profile business unit nationally, and is responsible for several billion dollars in annual revenues. For two years, I served as Ronald’s executive coach and got to know him and the issues he contends with quite well.
Ronald is tall, and his chiseled and attractive appearance enhances his gravitas. He touts an impressive pedigree, having come from a well-known business family. His Harvard MBA, commercial acumen, and successful track record with several companies contributed to his being a much sought-after talent.
Yet for all his recognized strengths, Ronald felt a degree of insecurity. An introvert, he shied away from social gatherings and felt awkward with casual interactions. He intimated that “In business discussions or meetings, I'm well prepared and my opinions are respected but I tend to be quiet, only speaking up when necessary.” Ronald’s personality assessment revealed him to be a perfectionist who didn’t take failure easily. He admitted, “I feel enormous stress when things are not going according to plan. I tend to hold it all in, and occasionally the pent-up emotion boils over, leading to unintended outbursts with my team members.”
I asked Ronald what effect this has on those around him. He replied, “My team meetings tend to focus on business and have a serious overtone. I seem to miss what is really going on, and sometimes I'm the last one to hear the news.” He sighed. I probed further to learn more about his outbursts. “Even though they’re few and far between, people are gun shy around me and kind of tiptoe around topics.” When asked about team ambiance, Ronald confessed, “I just don’t think my team members are enjoying our monthly meetings. They can hardly wait for them to end to have a drink with each other and unwind. I kind of feel those are a waste of time so I don’t usually attend. To be honest, I feel quite alone.”
What we had in Ronald was a talented, and in some ways brilliant, leader who didn’t display the classic charismatic, ballsy leadership common to many ‘folk hero’ leaders. It was a conundrum. He knew that he should engage the team more yet he felt awkward doing so. He realized that he needed to build stronger, more engaged relationships but didn’t enjoy it. And he felt lonely and somewhat isolated. What was he to do?...
... Ronald’s future is bright. Through his team’s transformation, Ronald himself has shifted from feeling distant, awkward and alone, to experiencing belonging, comfort and confidence. And its members are enjoying the success of being a High Performance Team.
Ronald and Alex represent just two of the myriad of leadership styles and their corresponding challenges. No matter what your challenge, your team is your ally. It can make the difference between your being considered “good” vs. “great.” Leading a team is exciting because it affords you the luxury to build and manage it in any way that suits your own needs and the needs of the organization. Teams are extraordinarily adaptable. They can move in any direction according to where you and its members want it to go.
Yes, there is a better way. You don’t need to feel lonely at the top. In this book we will show you how to leverage your team to create stellar results. We will outline a proven and effective team framework within the context of a team journey. We will provide the simple yet effective TQ measurement framework to establish a baseline for the team and track its progress. All the tools and methodologies you need on the journey are contained herein.
This book is laid out in several parts:
Part I, The Imperative, highlights the “why” and “what” of TQ.
Part II, The TQ Journey, illustrates the processes and methodologies.
Part III, Building, addresses types of teams and building them out.
Part IV, The Leader’s Operating Manual, is a ‘how to’ guide for creating your own High-TQ Team.
Enjoy the High Performance Team journey!