Updated: Oct 17, 2022
Self-leadership is foundational for better leaders.
At the same time, we all lead others at some point, in a variety of ways. This is where our self-leadership can make or break us. If you are running a solopreneurship, or are not in an executive role yet, keep reading. Leadership is not about your title or how many employees you have. Leadership is about how well you cast a vision for yourself, combined with the influence and impact you have on everyone whose lives you touch. For some of us our “team” might be our immediate family. It could be our neighborhood, our church, our vendor/network partners or even our clients. The most effective way to use your influence is giving this team of your choosing a mission.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve been looking at the foundations of better leadership. Realistic and manageable steps were assigned to your ONE thing. Now it is time to move our focus from your personal mission to the team you lead. This is a powerful step, and one that remarkably only demands your intentionality.
Each team, formal or informal, has a unique mission and role to play. Now that you have clarity about your own personal mission and you’ve set measurable, realistic goals, it’s time to clarify the primary mission for your team so that it functions more harmoniously and in greater concert together.
If your team is formal (that is, it is your employees, department, or a Board you sit on)
You can fairly easily have discussion with your team, where you share briefly how you’ve created a personal mission statement, used that mission to create realistic goals, and how you’re implementing your plan.
If your team is informal (family, a diverse set of vendor partners, etc.) you can share your personal mission statement and explain how you see them as a crucial part of fulfilling that mission. You can invite them into creating a shared mission that is mutually beneficial.
In a formal structure, your team mission may have already been established by a superior, or by you, or by the team as a whole. If it hasn’t been established yet, it’s crucial to get this foundational step in place.
Without a clear purpose behind what they’re doing, it’s difficult for team members to “own” or feel a connection to the larger picture. Formal or not, without this shared meaning, loyalty and engagement will flounder fairly quickly. Turnover will likely be high, as well as conflict, poor communication, lack of cooperation, lessened productivity and poor solution focus.
When every team member supports the mission, you end up with a team that places a high value on each individual’s contribution, including their own.
If your team’s mission hasn’t been clearly determined yet or needs to be clarified, below are questions that help to clarify it.
As a team leader, you can answer these questions yourself, but discussion with the whole team serves to get everyone on board, build camaraderie, and reveal weak areas.
Ask yourself and your team:
What does this team exist to do? Be as specific as possible.
What specific part does each individual member fulfill to accomplish what the team does?
Ask each member to articulate their portion. Ask others to help clarify and determine overlap or holes.
Is each member clear on how their part fits into the whole? Does each member understand the value of every other member’s part?
What does success look like for this team?
What does failure look like?
With these answers in mind, you can now clearly determine the primary mission of your team. Write out a specific team mission statement. There may be several components but simplify and clarify each section.
I have been very fortunate to witness first-hand the delightful benefits of asking and answering these questions. They can work wonders in a family setting, where parents and kids (yes, even teens!) are motivated to communicate better and participate in chores and activities voluntarily as a result. Additionally, when these questions are addressed, either directly or indirectly, with clients from the outset of a project, the clarity of roles, responsibilities and shared success establish a more enduring relationship.
It can be helpful, especially in volunteer organizations, boards or larger teams, to have these questions addressed under a facilitator’s expert and neutral guidance. If you would like help developing your team’s mission, reach out to schedule an exploratory call.