(Quick update – After leaving England at the end of July, the Strattons spent the next 5 weeks visiting family and friends throughout Canada and are now set up in Ottawa for the foreseeable future. LiveMore HQ is now up and running and I am back to providing you with regular quality original leadership content here on my blog.)
At Work, Are You Leading A Family Or A Sports Team?
You often hear people refer to their work teams as a family. Is this what you really want? Have you taken a close look at your family and your feelings about each person?If you are like me, you love everyone in your family unconditionally. Through all the childhood (and adult) fights, your pet peeves with them, your differences, the advice they didn’t take, the advice they didn’t give until it was too late, and the mistakes they have made, and through all the trials and tribulations that life throws at them, I will still love them because…well, they are family. I love them and always will. With family, there is no bottom-line.
A competitive sports team, on the other hand, most certainly has a bottom-line. In the past, I have written about the importance for leaders to love their team but not unconditionally. Sure, love them and also do everything in your power to have them performing at a high level to achieve your common goal but hold them to a high level of accountability at the same time. If a player on the sports team repeatedly makes mistakes, doesn’t show up on time, or calls out other players in the media, he/she may be benched, fined, or even dropped from the team, i.e. fired. You’re not going to fire a family member from your life, at least not in the same way you would a team player at work.
In extreme cases, you hear of family members who have not spoken for years. While this is terribly sad, I bet the family member who initiated breaking off the contact gave the other member a second, third, and maybe a tenth chance to redeem themselves.
In a high stakes, high-pressure work environment people are lucky if they get a second chance.
Too many teams have failed because their leader treated them like ‘family’. They were given too many chances and there was little accountability.
Action: As a leader, demand the same level of accountability and deliver timely consequence as you would expect from a high performing sports team, not your family.
Until next time… Embrace the Adventure
Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author and Ironman competitor.
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