Posts Tagged ‘Vision’

enemy of unity

Whether you are leading a business, a competitive team or whatever your context for unity might be, your team is a big deal.  Teams lacking in unity rarely gain any sort of momentum, and will either fail or live in the misery of mediocrity.

A couple of years ago Dave Ramsey unpacked what he calls The Five Enemies of Unity on an Entreleadership webcast: 

Poor Communication: If one half of your team doesn’t know what the other half of your team is doing, or only a few know what’s really going on, you have communication issues.  Providing timely information about what is going on throughout your organization allows your entire team to have clarity, accept challenges and celebrate wins together.

Gossip: I like how Ramsey’s team handles gossip: the first time it happens, you get sat down and warned, the second time it happens you are fired.  They have a policy of “handing negatives up, sending positives down.”  This policy has a great ring to it, but effective implementation of that policy requires you to handle the negatives when they come up quickly, and effectively.  Responsive leadership kills gossip every time.

Sanctioned Incompetence: When one team member struggles, the entire team struggles.  When a team leader ignores the obvious shortcomings of a team member they send a message that says performance doesn’t matter.  When performance doesn’t matter, people begin to question why they are working as hard as they do.  Acknowledging, and addressing performance issues (whether through training, reassignment, or termination) ensures your team will function at a high level.

Unresolved Disagreements: Letting issues smolder under the surface will kill your team.  As a leader, you need to kill the elephants in the room whenever they creep up by addressing issues head on.  One uncomfortable conversation can spare your team years of dysfunction.

Lack of Shared Purpose: If your team is not headed the same direction, you really don’t have a team.  Being committed and enthusiastic about your vision, mission, and strategies help keep your team stay on the same page and moving in the same direction.

Where have YOU seen the enemies of unity wreak havoc?

Written by Jim Shearer for Leading Hearts: the Spirit Ranch Blog; http://spiritranch.us/theenemiesofteamunity

Pike with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a pre...

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a press conference after the march to Selma, Alabama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my mind easily goes to the topic of leadership.  On this day we pay tribute to the life and work of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.

In what is often referred to as the “I Have a Dream” speech, there are some profound insights into what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Great leaders refuse to accept the status quo: In fact, I would say that this is the defining characteristic of real leaders.  They are not indifferent; they are active and unwilling to agree to their status and circumstance.

Great leaders do not sugar-coat reality: This speech came at a critical point in the civil rights movement.  Dr. King did not pull any punches.  He faced the most brutal facts of his current reality.

Great leaders engage the heart: While logic may require the mind, stories and metaphors move the heart.  This is the difference between sharing information and inspiration.  Dr. King was a master of captivating hearts.

Great leaders call people to act with their highest values: It would have been easy for the civil rights movement to change strategy and resort to violence as some did.  However, just like Nelson Mandela when he became president of South Africa, Dr. King called people to a higher ground.

Great leaders refuse to settle: It would have been easy for Dr. King to surrender his principles and to have settled for less than his vision, but he was stubborn in a good way.  He was persistent and called people to persevere.

Great leaders cast vision and hope for a better tomorrow: Leaders can never grow tired of sharing their clear and relevant vision.  They have to help their followers see a vivid picture of hope as Dr. King did so effectively.

The “I Have a Dream” speech is full of lessons in leadership. 

In the spirit of this holiday, take time to sit down with your family and read or watch the entire speech.  You may find it on YouTube.

It will change forever the way you understand Martin Luther King Day.

written by Jim Shearer for Leading Hearts: the Spirit Ranch Blog; http://spiritranch.us/reflectiononagreatleader