Leadership is all about producing the right results: A good team needs a good leader to chart the course to success.
Though getting your subordinates’ permission to lead them is important, in most companies leaders are only measured by the outcome of their leadership.
This is why level three of the leadership ladder is the ability to produce results. And for any leader, the best way to produce results is to build an effective team.
But how is this done?
First, it’s important to recognize that an effective team isn’t simply a collection of individuals. Rather it’s a finely-calibrated balance of various skills and attributes. In other words, a good team is greater than the sum of its parts, because all the strengths are fused together to balance out the weaknesses.
For instance, think of a basketball team, which consists of specialized players each perfectly fulfilling the demands of their specific position, whether dunking or shooting three-pointers. Members play in their own unique sweet spot, thereby maximizing strengths and minimizing weaknesses.
This kind of collaborative action is also well-suited to solving complex problems. Or as basketball coach John Wooden said, “Everyone who scores a basket has ten hands.” Meaning, each time an individual player scores, it’s thanks to his teammates’ contributions.
But of course, every good team needs a good leader, someone who ensures that everyone’s working together and heading in the right direction.
And that leader is also responsible for identifying strengths and weaknesses to compose the team. Bringing back the basketball analogy, you have to put your best defensive players in defense and the best attackers in offense.
Furthermore, it’s crucial for the team that the leader never loses sight of the big picture and charts a course towards the final destination.
Even in sports, the final goal isn’t always obvious. Just as in business, succeeding at basketball is way more complex than just “winning the game.” The coach has to also ask herself how she can prevent the team from overexertion, to save some energy for upcoming tournaments? In the business world, leaders have to ask the same questions.