When you think of a great leader, what is it about them that makes them so great? How did their leadership shape your own thoughts and beliefs? How did they lead you and your team to be so effective? I’ve learned it’s often a result of such effective leaders who can forever alter the course of your life and the way you live it.
Last week was Super Bowl 51 and I was watching the way Tom Brady led this team back to a successful 34-28 victory. Under the leadership of Coach Bill Belichick, Brady and the entire New England Patriots have now claimed their fifth Super Bowl victory. But what makes the Patriots so successful and how did they create this winning team?
I believe it started with great leadership who strategically invested in the individual strengths of each player on the team. In a Gallup research study, findings showed three common results why they follow the most influential leader.
1. The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths.
Strengths Based Leadership by Rath (2016) states, when leaders focus on and invest in their employee’s strengths, the odds of each person being engaged goes up eightfold.
Why would you invest in the weaknesses of your team? I know this sounds counter intuitive, but imagine the New England Patriots offense switching sides with their defense? Or putting their running backs on the offensive line and their lineman as running backs or wide-receivers? They probably wouldn’t be that effective, would they? Or engaged with even participating because what you’re having them do isn’t their natural strengths, what they are naturally good at.
I played football in High School and always wanted to be the running back, the guy who ran the ball, making cuts and scoring the endzone. However, my moves weren’t that sharp or fast. I then started to understand what I was naturally good at as well understanding how it takes an entire team to make our running back be able to do that.
2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team.
Effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and build on each other’s strengths. As leaders, it’s your responsibility to know yourself and your people and what’s expected of your team . This starts with awareness. While the best leaders are not well-rounded, the best teams are. My mentor John C. Maxwell says teamwork makes the dream work. However, it requires you to be intentional about surrounding yourself with the right people who can make your team an effective one. Tom Brady surrounded himself with a team of players who could maximize his team and his efforts.
This also requires knowing what is needed for your team to be effective, i.e. what strengths you need. Successful leaders are strategic when putting together their teams because they know the skills needed for the team to be effective. You can’t have a bunch of quarterbacks and expect to win. The same is true in your business or organization. There are many roles and responsibilities within every organization. Be strategic in how you are building your team.
3. The most effective leaders understand their follower’s needs.
I believe this is to be a critical part of team building that often gets overlooked. Do you care about the emotional development of your people? Do you know what they need to grow and be effective? People follow leaders for very specific reasons. Think about it – when you think of a leader you would follow, what is it about their leadership? What do they provide for you? In Gallup’s study, Rath (2015) states, followers were able to answer this question with remarkable clarity.
Leaders who are successful in this know how to invest in their teams because they are aware of what they need in order to grow and be successful. They know their people and how they operate best. This really speaks to being a servant leader and putting others first before yourself.
So what are your strengths? And what are the strengths of your team? Do you know them? Would you like to? The best advice I received when I was first got into a leadership position was “you take care of your people and they’ll take care of you”. Getting to know your people can be an easy task, it requires being intentional and authentic about getting to know them and then learn how to add value to them and their strengths as you lead them. Do this and you’ll learn how to lead like the New England Patriots.
If you would like to learn more about adding value to your team or organization and would like to learn how you an work with me. Contact me today by messaging me directly. Also be sure to subscribe to my weekly leadership series by subscribing here.