Embrace Your Team’s Potential

Highly effective leaders know how to develop their team to be the best people, and team they can be. Low performing leaders don’t know what the team is capable of, or what is required to make them the best they can be.

Before you embrace your team’s potential, you must first embrace your own potential. As a leader of a team, we all want our people (or we should all want our people) to be the best they can be, and go the extra mile for us and the team.

However, if we are expecting this of our team, then we should be expecting the same from ourselves and leading by example.

1. Leading By Example And Of Service

What we need to realise is, we are in exactly the right place we should be at this moment in time. The reason we are in exactly the right place we should be is because of us, nobody else. You are the reason you are where you are.

I am the reason I am where I am. If you want to change your current circumstances then you must first start with yourself. If you feel that the results you are getting should be better, then you need to better yourself. Nobody else can do it for you.

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How is your team performing at present? If they are under performing, then you are not leading them right. A highly effective leader serves his/her team, and a low performing leader actually believes it should be them to be served.

If you are not currently serving your team, and they are under performing, then you need to change your leadership style to one of service to your team.

When I ask you to “serve your team”, what I really mean is help your team. When I have used the term serve in the past, a lot of people I worked with didn’t like the term. So I stopped using it and just used the term help. Help and serve both mean the same thing.

To lead a team, what you are really doing is helping them. What you are helping them to do is to perform to their best, be the best person they can be, and complete their work to the best of their ability.

It should be your purpose to influence every member of your team, so that they can increase their influence with each other, and others within the organisation.

2. Embracing Their Leadership Potential

Highly effective leaders know that leadership is influence, and that everybody within their team has influence, so therefore everybody has the potential to be a leader. You just need to embrace that leadership potential you have in every member of your team.

You have a team of leaders already, they just lead on a lower level to you.

You lead on a different level to your own senior leaders. Followers only follow leaders who are on a higher leadership level to what they are.

For example, your senior leaders will not see you as their leader, and usually won’t follow you, so you will not be able to develop their leadership skills. However, that does not mean that you cannot influence them.

Who you are (character) is what determines what level you are in your leadership. What you know (competency) plays a part too, but a much smaller part.

For example, when you interview a person to join your team, you are a lot more likely to hire them because of who they are, not what they know. I have hired people who were not as qualified as some of the other candidates, but they knew who they were and I had that feeling.

We have spoken previously that leadership is 80% character and 20% competency. If there is a member of your team that you cannot connect with, then what and how much they know is irrelevant.

You are much more likely to achieve great results with your team, if you can build a meaningful relationship with them. If there is no trust between you and your team, then they will not give everything they have, and be the best they can be.

3. Building Stronger Relationships

For you and your team to achieve the best results possible, you must focus on strengthening your own character, and building strong relationships with each member of your team. Both as individuals, and together as a team.

Creating a relationship of trust is what’s most important. With trust you will find it much easier to gain buy-in, and the team will want to do their best, and be their best for you and everyone on the team.

As a highly effective leader, it should be your mission to embrace your team’s potential, and this means developing them as leaders. When you have built strong relationships, and the team are performing well in their day-today tasks, then you must now go that extra mile for them.

Moving beyond the job position and title and developing the team into leaders is how you continue to build those strong relationships.

Your team will follow you because they want to. They will feel the importance of working on and developing their leadership. They will understand how to influence others as they are becoming highly effective leaders, just like you.

Teaching and developing your team in their leadership is what will be remembered. When doing this you are positioning you and the team to be the most successful you can be. When you are in this position, you have the potential to achieve the best results you can.

4. Raising Yours And Your Team’s Level

We discussed leadership levels in a different article. As you are developing your team into leaders, your leadership level will also be raising higher. As you and your team’s leadership levels increase, your results will continue to improve. So the answer to the question, “How do we keep improving our results?” is, raise your leadership level.

As you are going through my articles, and putting into practice what you are learning, you are automatically raising your leadership level. As you teach your people what you are learning from my articles, your team’s leadership level will be raising, as will yours even more.

So, think to yourself and discuss with your team, what results do we want to see? Do we want to have good results, great results, or amazing results?

You know what you need to do, just keep raising your own leadership level, and help your team to raise their leadership level too. Highly effective leaders strive to achieve amazing results with their teams.

To achieve the best results possible, you need to go further than what is required. You and the team need to go the extra mile for each other, and for the organisation.

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But first, you need to become the best leader you can be, and your team need to become the best leaders they can be. As long as you keep working to your best, you will achieve the best results possible.

However, for you to have a team of leaders, who are the best people they can be, you need to keep investing in them and developing them. As I said earlier, they will feel your investment, and they will feel different when they are being developed.

It is the feeling that will be remembered, not just the fact that you have invested in them. It is this feeling that the team will want more of, and that you will also want more of. So, to keep getting that feeling, keep developing.

Having a leadership position is one thing. Moving beyond the position is another. Developing your people to be the best they can be is the only thing.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

26 thoughts on “Embrace Your Team’s Potential

  1. I liked your comment at the end of your article. Professional development is key to making a good company, and to maintaining a good work environment. It’s important to develop subordinates in that way. I like the philosophy that you groom the person you want to take your job. In a volatile environment, this doesn’t happen often. Thanks for your article!

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article useful.

      You are right, if we are working in a volatile or toxic environment then there is very little development. This will also make the team feel awful, not want to be in the job and will not give their best. If we create a positive, leadership culture then it will be the opposite. Keep creating positive environments and cultures.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. I can definitely agree with the “Build stronger relationships” aspect of leadership. I’ve been a team leader before and I am now, and in each circumstance, you get out of people what you put into them. IF your team sees you leading by example, they follow.

    There’s a great book I read called Leaders Eat Last, which was fantastic and had a similar thought. Enjoyed your blog.

    -Rob

    1. Hi Rob,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased you found the article valuable.

      You are right, if you invest in your people then they will return your investment by giving you their best for you, for themselves and for the team. So keep investing in your people.

      Leaders Eat Last is a great book. I have all of Simon Sinek’s books and I am a big fan.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. I agree with everything you said in your post. As a life-long student of Leadership I am always learning and relearning to help me to continue to become a more effective leader. And, a leader who is not highly effective is probably not much of an influencer. John Maxwell says, “A leader with no one following is just somebody going for a walk”:)

    1. Hi Glenn,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      Like you, leader’s are all lifelong learners and students of leadership. Leaders are readers and are learning new things that will help them in their leadership every day.

      I’m a big fan of John Maxwell and he is one that I like to learn from too.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. Thank you Tom for this great instructional post. I currently have been put in charge of a group of individuals at work because my particular position is growing within the company. Soon I will need to interview and hire more people.

    I am not worried about the hiring process as I was tasked to do so with the three others I work with now. I agree that looking at a person’s character over what they know, helps to choose the right people for the team and that is what I’ve done.

    My problem is that I am a perfectionist. There was a time when I was really bad at that, everything had to be perfect. I have since learned to ease up on things being 100% perfect and sometimes 95% perfect is good enough for the task.

    The team I have right now that is growing seems to be coming together nicely but I will have to pick someone to be my second in charge. I already know that the workload is going to be way too much for me to handle by myself.

    It is my thinking that I should choose this individual using the same techniques I used in hiring them in the first place. However seeing how I am a perfectionist, how do I make the final decision without trying to find the “perfect” candidate?

    Do I go on a gut feeling and hope they can do the job? Or maybe I should create some sort of test of the things I do and then make my determination from the results of the test? Though I want this person to be thorough, they don’t need to be a perfectionist.

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your very thorough comment and your excellent questions. I’m really pleased you found the article valuable.

      Your role is a leadership role, and leadership is based on 80% character and 20% competency. Looking at your team members who are the strongest in competency, what kind of character are they?

      If they are strong in competency and weak in character, then they cannot be your second in command. The reason being is, when they have to take your place as a leader when you are on leave, then it is highly likely they will lose trust and the relationship with the team.

      Who in your team increases their influence and has the strongest relationships with the other team members? That is the person you need to be your second in command. The reason being is that they will continue to increase their influence when you are on leave. They will then be best place to take your place if you leave or are promoted.

      Hope this helps. Please get back in touch if you need anything clarifying.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Hi, thanks for your advice on how to embrace a team’s potential. I agree with your point that a leader must serve the team first before leading. It is very important for a leader to be humble while leading a team. Thanks.

    1. Hi Gary,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I agree, it is very important for a leader to have humility when leading a team. Humility is the difference between confidence and arrogance.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your great advice about leading a team. It really shows that you have deep experience in the topic.

    I will share this post with some friends who I think will benefit from your advice.

    I hope you will post more interesting articles in the future!

    Best Regards,
    Joonas

    1. Hi Joonas,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article valuable.

      I am most definitely going to be sharing more articles in the future. Please go through my current articles if you want to learn more in leadership, personal growth and how to increase your influence.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. I totally agree with you about being able to have a solid team working under you that you can work with comfortably.

    Having that friction in the workplace does cause a rift that can affect other team members apart from just the original person.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found the article helpful.

      You are right, having friction or tension in the workplace can lower the morale of the team. As a leader, it is our job to remove the tension and friction.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. Thanks Tom,

    I especially like how you make it clear that, with a leadership position, you have to work on yourself even more. Less blaming others, more personal responsibility. Something a lot of bosses nowadays don´t really recognize, but the only way to grow yourself and be an inspiration for others!

    Keep up the good work!

    Thimo

    1. Hi Thimo,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      Working on ourselves every day is so important, so keep it up. Even if it’s a small thing, it is still really important.

      Bosses nowadays do seem to be getting better, but a lot of them need to work on themselves more.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. This is so true and much more powerful than some think. In the last job I had, the team leader was too much and so my work rate decreased because I didn’t feel valued and so I wasn’t interested. I am much happier in the team I am in now 😀

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased you found the article helpful.

      Thank you for sharing your experience in your previous team with your team leader. You are right, feeling undervalued or manipulated decreases your drive and motivation. I have first hand experience with this.

      It’s great to hear you feel a lot better in the team you are in now. Keep it up and keep learning.

      All the best,

      Tom

  10. Very informative and encouraging article. Thanks for the advice. Everyone leads in some capacity and these suggestions are widely applicable.

    1. Hi Christy,

      Thank you for your comment. Really happy that you found the article informative and encouraging.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  11. Thanks for your advice on how to build a great team. I agree with you, we are were we brought our self and nobody ells will lead us anywhere. I also think that if your a team leader, you should never think that you are higher than the team. If you will be with them at one level and help them achieve bigger goals you will be respected by many.

    1. Hi Nataliya,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s my pleasure to provide this article and advise you.

      Totally agree with you, helping your people and staying on their level shows them that you care and respect them. Respecting others will be reciprocated in respect from them.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  12. Hello Tom!

    This is exactly I’ve been looking for “A leadership in a nutshell” no complicated explanation, no payout thingy just brilliant and helpful. I’ll keep this site on my bookmark. I’m so inspired and stoked and i’ll keep on coming back for more of your leadership advice.

    Best regards!
    Fred

    1. Hi Frederick,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased you found the article valuable.

      It’s great to hear that you are inspired and stoked. Please do keep returning for more articles.

      All the best,

      Tom

  13. The power of submission! Every good leader was once a good follower. I agree many a times people misunderstand the meaning of ‘serve’.

    All the points raised are amazing and most definitely missing in some organisations. Wonderful sharing!

    Cheers

    1. Hi Sam,

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. It’s great that you found the article amazing.

      Keep serving (helping others), keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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