Updated: Feb 13
One of a leader's most important roles is to provide a vision for the team. It’s not necessary to know every detail of how this can be achieved; however, it is vital that the leader believes in the team’s potential to succeed and provides direction when needed.
It takes courage to lead. First and foremost, you must have an unwavering faith in your own ability. When you are certain about the desired destination you can then begin the process of constructing the journey. One of the most important steps is to help your team connect and allow them to take as much ownership as possible. When people believe in each other and are bound together by a common purpose, their capabilities are enormous. Richard Branson has built 15 companies worth billions of dollars in his career to date. He puts large portions of his success down to his employees and their ability to perform at a higher level.
“Tend to the people, and they will tend to the business.” Richard Branson
It’s in my experience that your people need you the most when the road becomes a bit rocky. These times are great opportunities to reinforce the belief of the group. We learn our best lessons from our failures. Teams grow stronger and build momentum by overcoming adversity together.
I was coach of the Brisbane Broncos Under 20's in the inaugural National Youth Competition in 2008. We were a totally new team in a new competition in unchartered waters. After 6 games we had tasted victory only twice and were at the wrong end of the table. The Sydney teams were more physical and seasoned then us. But, after learning some valuable lessons together I was convinced we had a team that could win the title. We won 11 out of our last 12 games and made the grand final. We lost the decider in triple golden point but we had been on a journey that was successful in so many ways. The captain of that team was Alex Glenn – the newly appointed captain of the Brisbane Broncos. Some of the situations we encountered during that season, good and bad, could not have been envisaged at the start. The team grew stronger together as they navigated their way through the year. As the leader my main role was to encourage the belief in the vision and help them grow together along the way.
When you have a vision of where you want to go and can stay mindful of the present moment, it enables you to be resilient. If the leader displays resilience, then the team are more chance of doing the same. And, when leaders help a team achieve goals against the odds, they are developing new leaders in the process. The more responsibility your team members are prepared to accept the stronger they become, and the performances of the team improves – particularly under pressure. Ultimately, high performing teams need their coaches/leaders less and less along their journeys. Legendary Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson describes the stages of his 30-year tenure as going from coach to delegator to observer.
Richard Branson is worth approximately $5 billion (US) and has over 65,000 employed across the Virgin group. When they don’t need you anymore, you have done your job!