How Do You See Your Team’s Potential?

If you treat a person as if they were already what they strive to, or potentially they could be, then they will become that person. If you treat a person the same as everyone else, then they will not become that person.

In most of the organisations I’ve worked with, it was very rare to see the managing director visiting the teams. Or, walking around the different departments, and talking to the staff. The same goes with the other directors, or the heads of departments. I find it strange because people are people.

There should be no barriers because of your position or title. Whenever I led a team, most of them didn’t know what the managing director looked like. Some of them didn’t know his/her name.

I would have preferred for those barriers to be broken down. I think it would have been appreciated to see the directors visiting our offices, or the other departments of the organisation more regularly. By having these barriers or walls, people get very comfortable with just being with their peers and teammates.

1. Knowing Your People And Networking

It is good to network with other members of the organisation, and build relationships so that you can increase your influence with them. When low performing leaders interact with different leaders or teams, they feel inferior. They see themselves as the boss, so they are supposed to be in charge all the time.

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When they interact with other leaders, they start to feel even more insecure.

Highly effective leaders are the opposite. They love to meet new people outside of their team, or department. They love to build relationships, be humble, and connect with people. A highly effective leader would see this as time well spent, interacting with other leaders. They would value those sharing ideas and advice.

They see networking as a massive learning opportunity. They know that whoever they connect with, they will be learning and growing together. When networking, highly effective leaders ask lots of questions, as they love to do.

They also encourage their team members to do the same. They show them how valuable networking is, and how they can learn and grow with more people.

Low performing leaders will not encourage their team to do any networking, or seek out learning opportunities. The reason for that is they are not focussed on them or their potential, so they will not develop their team.

I have discussed book studies in earlier articles, and a low performing leader would never take their team through a book study. If they did, it would be developing their team and unleashing their potential. That is a huge no-no for a low performing leader as it goes against everything the low performing leader believes in.

Highly effective leaders see their team as equals. They are equal to themselves, to the directors of the organisation and the heads of department. So, they are looking for ways to unleash their team’s potential, and opportunities to network with other highly effective leaders.

Low performing leaders focus on themselves and do not develop their team. They are very narrow minded, and when things go well they will credit themselves, when things go badly they will blame their team. Highly effective leaders focus on the team, and want to develop their team.

They are open minded, and when things go well they will credit their team. When things go badly they will accept full responsibility for it. More importantly they are demonstrating to their team that they care about them, and want the best for them.

2. Showing Your Team you Care

How do you demonstrate to your team that you care about them and that you want the best for them? What message do you send to them on a daily basis? Do you boost morale or do you decrease it? Do you increase your influence or do you decrease it?

Do you encourage them to work better together as a team? Do you inspire them to become more, do more, and want more?

When you start to apply the principles I am sharing in my articles throughout this site, your behaviours towards your team will change and improve. You will start to show them that you do care for them, and want the best for them. You will do this through how you act, and not what you say.

When you do this, the team will feel a lot more engaged, and encouraged to do and be more. They will feel empowered by you. You as the leader will be a lot more secure and open minded, so any barriers will be broken down.

Trust between you and the team will increase, and they will want to start helping you too. Your influence with them will increase, and they will follow you because they want to, not because they have to.

If you had the choice tomorrow to choose between two different bosses to work with, which one would you choose? Would you choose the boss who didn’t show you that he/she cared for you, didn’t encourage you, and didn’t develop you or empower you?

Or, would you choose the boss who showed you every day that he/she cared for you, wants the best for you, encouraged you to be more, encouraged you to do more, and developed you and empowered you? The choice is obvious.

3. Do You Feel Cared For?

How does your boss deliberately develop you? Do you feel cared for by your boss and that he/she wants the best for you? How do you feel when you are around and talking to your boss? How are you going to start deliberately developing your team?

How are you going to demonstrate that you care for them, and want the best for them? How do your team feel right now? How are you going to make them feel better?

I talk a lot about growing and developing your team, and by doing that you are showing them that you care and want the best for them. However, there are more ways you can demonstrate to your team that you care. Here are some ways that I have shown the teams I have led that I cared for them, and want the best for them:

  • I asked their opinion on non-work related things.
  • I always tried to find ways to leverage them and be noticed by leaders.
  • I asked each member of the team what their ambitions, goals and dreams were.
  • I gave them work that they could make a success of, that would be noticed by the other leaders.
  • I gave them networking opportunities by introducing them to the leaders of the organisation.
  • I talked to them every day, even if it had nothing to do with the job.
  • I always thanked the team every day for their contributions.

To make your team feel like you care for them is not difficult at all. You just have to want to do it, and not see it as a chore, or that thing that you have to do each day. If you feel like that then you will not sustain it. You really do have to truly care for your team.

The more you do it, the easier it will become, and your relationships will build and build every day. This is another part of your journey of personal growth, and working on yourself EVERY DAY.

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If you look at the list above of how I made my team feel cared for, is your boss doing the same, or similar things with you? If they are not, but they started to do those things, how would your relationship feel different? What would change? Would you feel cared for? Would you feel better or worse?

If I asked your team if you did the things on the list above, how would they react? Would they agree that you do all or some of those things? Would they feel cared for if I asked them?

If one of your team members felt that you didn’t care for them, or that they mattered to you, the simple truth is that you don’t care for them, and they don’t matter to you. If that is the case, how are you going to change? Do you even want to change?

If you start to forget about certain team members and focus on the few, then you have forgotten your purpose as a leader.

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 (Lead, Grow, Influence)

20 thoughts on “How Do You See Your Team’s Potential?

  1. Hi Tom, great article. I have been in organisations and currently stuck in one that does not carry this out although they actually think they do, as it stops in the board room. This is known as the pygmalion effect, which I thick most of them are not aware of. Companies that do adopt this principle I do think are going to strive in the post covid 19 world, where companies are going to lean on their people to survive.
    Thanks for the article. Regards Barry

    1. Hi Barry,

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

      It’s unfortunate that your organisation do not see their people’s potential, and I can imagine they treat you like numbers. I have worked with many organisations who treated us in the same way.

      I think you are absolutely right that organisations who treat their people right will thrive following the Covid-19 pandemic. They are going tho need their people more than ever, so what better to have inspired teams and leaders.

      Thank you for that insight, really is inspiring.

      Keep engaging and keep leading. All the best,

      Tom

  2. Very interesting and insightful article. I studied business organization when I was in University but I learned that day-to-day reality is a completely different thing. A real leader must make an effort to understand the psychology of his / her workforce. Everybody is different and needs different incentives to unleash their true potential. I like your take on leadership, especially the emphasis you put on showing your workforce that you really care about them and are not just trying to exploit them. People give their best when they feel they’re not just another number.

    1. Hi Horatius,

      Thank you for your great comment. I am so happy you found the article helpful.

      You are so right. Day-to-day reality is completely different to the theory we learn. It is important that we put into practice what we learn in University.

      Showing our people that we care is one of the most important things we can do as leaders. Not treating our people as numbers is rare, but if we want to make our people feel good and give their best then it is essential that we treat them as human beings.

      Thank you for this wonderful insight.

      Keep leading and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. What a wonderful article! I had to share it immedeately on fb and twitter with your share buttons. Very well explained, detailed and without any grumpy judgemental tone. I loved it and it explained to me very well, why I just couldn’t keep working where I was and had to look for a different job.
    It is so true and easy once you read it put into words. But living through it, with a weak leader who blamed us when things went wrong, were never interested in our talents or skills, or even personal lives. Living through it is horror and I just hope that by reading this we will have many more conscious and effective leaders. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Joanne,

      Thank you for your amazing comment. I’m so happy that you found the article valuable.

      My intention was not to enable people to quit their jobs, but if that is how you feel, take a bit of time to reflect and don’t make any rash decisions. If after your reflection that you still feel the same, then a change might well be in order.

      If you need any help or advice with this then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. Great article, unfortunately insecure leaders are mostly unaware or unwilling to accept they need to work on their own potential.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      You are right, insecure leaders are definitely unaware that they need to work on themselves. They believe they are above it.

      Just be sure to keep working on yourself every day and you will be well on your way to becoming a highly effective leader.

      Keep leading and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. So true – leadership is about being in the trenches with your troops, not isolated from customers and day to day problems. You need to be accountable, consistent, reliable and fair. You can’t solve problems if you don’t understand them.
    Teams win, individuals don’t.
    Good stuff, keep up the good work Tom

    1. Hi David,

      Thank you for your comment. You have definitely got the right insight on leadership, thanks for sharing it.

      You are so right, being in the trenches and leading from the front is true leadership. Accountability, consistency, reliability and fairness are most definitely important traits of a leader.

      Thank you for sharing this insight with me. I really appreciate it.

      Keep returning, keep engaging, and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  6. I always leave your website with more knowledge of being a good team leader, and this is very important since I try to help as many people as I possibly can in my business. Even if you own your own business you need a team to succeed, so this information is precious for anyone with a business or on a considering starting their own business.

    Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your comment. It’s great to hear that you are taking so much from my articles, really is uplifting.

      If you own your own business or you are a team leader, then this information is just as valuable for both. People are people and we need to lead our people the best way we can.

      Keep returning and keep engaging, But, most of all keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. I really agree with you. Leadership is hard and not for everyone but this post made it seems easier by explaining to us how to show to our team that we really care about them. A very helpful article. I am waiting for another good article that will help those in need.

    Codrut.

    1. Hi Codrut,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found it valuable.

      Everybody has the ability and potential to lead, but it takes a lot more to actually be a leader. Caring for your people is one of the traits required to be a leader. If you don’t care for your people then you are not a leader.

      Keep returning and keep engaging. If you need any help with your leadership then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. What a fantastic read, I have to agree that people are people
    Everyone should be treated the same, we all breathe the same air.
    I’m lucky where I work, the boss comes in and says hello and chats
    All the time.
    Growing and developing your team is very important, because you need them all to make everything run smoothly.
    Great article thank you for sharing
    Keep safe
    Lisa.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for your comment. So happy that you have found it valuable.

      People are people and as a leader you need to treat your people well, and you will need to use different tactics and strategies with each individual.

      Growing and developing your team is so important, you are absolutely right there.

      All the best and you stay safe too.

      Tom

  9. I need to send this link to my boss! Unfortunately, so many leaders don’t do any actual leading. In my group at work, there is no training, no teaching, no grooming whatsoever. We just have a “get the job done” mentality and then move on. It’s really every man for himself.

    I think you have to train people and treat them well in order to have a solid foundation for an organization. After all, you hire people to do a job, so help them accomplish not only their career goals but the organizational goals as well.

    I love the cartoon that shows the CFO and CEO chatting and the CFO says to the CEO, “what if we train people and they leave?”. The CEO replies, “what if don’t and they stay?”.

    Thanks again for this article, it’s outstanding!

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your comment. Really pleased that you found the article valuable.

      Please do send this link to your boss. It would be great if he was to leave a comment.

      Your reference of the cartoon of the CEO and CFO is absolutely right. If we don’t develop our people and they stay, we will be in a much worse position than if we do develop them and they stay. Well put.

      Thanks again for your kind words.

      All the best,

      Tom

  10. Hi Tom, thank you for this great article! I’ve always not a good leader, but this article shows me how I can do to become a highly effective leader! Thank you so much for your advice.

    Wish you the best!
    Kelly

    1. Hi Kelly,

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

      It takes time for everyone to build up their leadership skills and being able to practice them. Just keep positive and don’t give up on your leadership learning.

      If you need any help or advice on your leadership and personal growth then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging, and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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