The Role of a Leader

Leaders are made, not born. Brian Tracy reveals how to lead your employees effectively.

Your ability to negotiate, communicate, influence and persuade others to do things is indispensable to everything you accomplish in life. The most effective men and women are those who can competently organize the cooperation and assistance of other people to accomplish goals and objectives.

Of course, everyone you meet has different values, opinions, attitudes, beliefs, cultural values, work habits, goals, ambitions and dreams. Because of this incredible diversity of human resources, it has never been more difficult and yet more necessary for diplomatic leaders to emerge and form these people into high-performing teams.

Fortunately, leaders are made, not born. You learn to become a leader by doing what other excellent leaders have done before you. You become proficient in your job or skill, and then you become proficient at understanding the motivations and behaviors of other people. As a leader, you combine your personal competencies with the competencies of others into a smoothly functioning team that can outplay and outperform all its competitors.

When you become a team leader, even if your team only consists of one other person, you must immediately develop a whole new set of leadership skills. To determine what these skills are, you need to consider the genesis of high-performing teams.

Teams generally go through four phases as they evolve toward high performance: forming, storming, norming and performing.

Forming
The forming stage is very important, perhaps even critical, to the success of the team. Your ability to select the proper team members to accomplish a particular task--personal or business--is the mark of the superior leader. If you select the wrong people in the first place, it becomes almost impossible afterward to build a winning team, just as it would be impossible to win athletic championships with unskilled or ill-suited players.

In the forming stage, the team members come together and begin to get a feeling for each other. There will be a good deal of discussion, argument, disagreement, personal expression of likes and dislikes, and the forming of friendly alliances between team members.

This stage, especially the discussions and conversations that take place, may seem time consuming, but it's indispensable to developing a unified group of people that you can lead. One of the most important qualities of a leader is patience. And patience is never more necessary than when you're going through the early stages of assembling your team.

Storming
The second stage of team development is storming--a shortened form of "brainstorming." During this stage, the group, whose members are now comfortable with each other, begins the hard work of setting goals and deadlines, dividing up the tasks and getting on with the job. During the storming phase, people learn about the contributions each member can make to achieve the team's objectives.

Norming
The third stage of team development is norming. This is when norms and standards are established among the team members so that everyone feels secure and confident in his or her place. All members know what's expected and how their performance will be measured. They also are aware of the responsibilities and obligations that they have, not only to the job, but to each other. Your ability as a leader to promote the norming process is critical to the team's success.

Performing
The fourth stage of team development is performing. In the final analysis, your ability to get results is all that really matters. Your lifestyle, your rate of promotion and level of rewards, and your respect and esteem among your co-workers and bosses will all be determined by your ability to perform and to get others to perform.

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