I was thinking today about teams and the ability of the team leader to be effective. I batted this idea around since I woke up and basically came up with this:
You (as a leader) are only as effective as your TEAM is strong.
Now, hear me out. I am not saying that a person that through promotion, design, hire, or natural placement has to have a strong team already in place to be an effective leader. What I’m saying is that as a team leader evolves in that role that their overall effectiveness will eventually be measured not by they work they are doing but how strong the team is.
This team might be built by the leader over time or the leader will being surrounding themselves with the right people to get the job done the best way possible – even when those people might actually be better at the tasks than they are. In fact, I think that is paramount!
This is my friend Jan. I met Jan back in 2012 when I first opened EVOKE. I remember the day vividly. I was sitting in my office off the kitchen at the shop and one of the baristas came back to tell me a lady with the City of Edmond was here to see me.
My first thought was – “what have I done now?” and what I needed to prepare for. As I stepped out of my office and made the long trek towards the front of the shop, I saw Jan standing near the coffee retail area.
Turns out, I hadn’t done anything wrong and she wanted to talk about bicycles and an event that was happening (bike to work day) in the back parking lot.
Since that day in 2012 – more than 10 years ago – I have worked with Jan Fees on countless projects, sent countless emails and had countless phone conversations and meetings.
We have talked about City issues, bicycles, family, housing, Downtown Edmond, walkability, safety, and so much more.
I worked with her while an attendee and eventual committee member of the Edmond Bicycle Committee.
I am currently working with her as a board member and now chair of the Central Edmond Urban District Board.
She has helped me for the past 3 years do my part in making Cycle 66 a huge success.
In all of the work I have been able to do with the City of Edmond, I can look back and know that I owe much of this opportunity to Jan Fees. She has introduced me to all the people I needed to know at the City. She has answered so many questions for me and, in her Jan Fees way, as encouraged me to ask the right questions to the right people in order to collaborate on projects that I care about.
The thing is, sometimes your “team” is actually your personal network and the work you are doing is towards a better YOU. Jan has been on my team since 2012 and one of the most important team members I have ever had.
Who is on your team? Who is helping you be as effective as possible as your role of team leader? Think it through. Our job as a leader is to curate collaboration. That isn’t a one person job but the job of your team.
Think about it. It will make you a better leader.