Authentic teams. Is yours?

Whether you are currently leading or on a team now, many of you will have a strong opinion about how you would classify your team with a one-word adjective. If authentic isn’t the first one that comes to mind, don’t worry. You are not alone. However, being on an authentic team can be one of the best experiences you can have. Whether it is a sports or workplace team.

I’m currently working on a research project which involves speaking to leaders of teams. What they have in common is that they are all leaders of sports teams. Different types of sports teams, led by women and men, and from all over the United States. The experience of these coaches ranges from a few years to multiple decades, and from the professional sports level to the high school level.

My research project is in the process of wrapping up, and I have not officially begun to analyze the data, but one thing about all of these teams is certain. The leaders are all authentic leaders, and those being led by them are exceptionally fortunate.

Having worked in the corporate world for decades, I am fascinated by the parallel comparisons of the elements included in what consists of winning sports teams, and high-performance corporate teams. From personal observational experience, two of the factors in common these different types of teams have is how the leader thinks about and manages their team.

When I think back to the business leaders I worked for, admired or interacted with, the word authentic person would be the adjective I would use to describe them. Nothing about them was fake. They were also all extremely humble, many of them were self-deprecating, and all of them viewed every member on their team as being incredibly valuable. You also felt this in their presence, and in how they demonstrated their leadership traits.

More importantly, the leaders of both sports and business teams always put the needs of their team first. What else separates these authentic leaders from everyone else? Plenty. Here are some examples to be on the lookout for to help you identify whether you, or the person who leads you falls into this category.

  • They continually invest in their management and leadership knowledge.
  • They are not concerned about admitting they may be wrong about a decision.
  • They are the ones to accept the blame and not cast it on others when something goes wrong.
  • Investing their knowledge in others is paramount to why they lead others, with the intent of helping them to get to whatever the next level of achievement or performance is.
  • Sharing their knowledge with other leaders or coaches is something they regularly do. They are not fearful of imparting their knowledge on others who would perceivably be their competition, because they are confident in their own abilities, as well as the teams they lead.
  • These leaders literally glow when they talk about the teams they lead. Their pride in the people they are responsible for is contagious, and makes you want to be on any team they lead.
  • Another attribute all of these authentic leaders have in common, is their true passion for the work they are doing. Almost to the point of it being what some would refer to as a “calling”.
  • If you were to ask these leaders would they consider doing something else professionally, the majority of them will tell you they have not considered doing anything else. This is also quite evident based on the lengthy tenure of some of the sports coaches interviewed in the research project I am leading.
  • The majority of the leaders will also tell you they were heavily influenced by one or two people to become a leader themselves.
  • All of the leaders I have ever spoken to, including the ones in the sports coach research project noted that they pursued their path because it provided them with a way of giving back to others what they had experienced under the leader who influenced them.

Although the sports coach research project is still underway, it will be wrapping up soon. At least the first phase of it. I can’t wait to dive in and begin analyzing the results of the findings from the interviews that were conducted. One thing I can assure you about what I will find is that both sports coaches and leaders in business will be able to benefit from the research findings. More importantly, so will the tens of thousands of people who are led by these leaders once the research data becomes available.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Authenticity #Beingauthentic #Characteristicsofauthenticleaders #Authenticteams #Authenticleader #SportsTeams #SportsCoaches #Coaches #BusinessLeaders #WhatGreatLeadersHaveInCommon #Management B252

Top performers are always learning. Do you know why?

There is a lot to admire when someone is at the top of their game. Whether it is in business or in sports. Typically, what they are doing looks like they are doing it with ease, and a finesse which is often hard to describe. Do you know someone like this, and do you know how they got there?

I’ll grant you credit for being able to name a few things which have made the people you admire, and who are at the top of their game, but I bet you will be surprised by some of the other reasons. Why? Because the truth is there is no one particular way for anyone to be at the apex of their “game” or profession. However, there are some fundamental and common denominators which most top performers have in common.

If you were to take a look into the lives of top athletes, you will find one of the most common traits they have is a desire to always be competing at something. They thrive when they are challenged to strive and to do what it takes to win. Achievement is a byproduct of being competitive, but it doesn’t always mean winning. However, being focused on achievement is also another trait athletes have in common. Neither being competitive or achievement focused should be surprising elements of successful athletes, but some of the other reasons might surprise you.

After working with and being around athletes and top business people for decades, the single item they all possess is the desire to always be learning. The type of learning they individually do varies significantly, but most of the time it is related to the work they are doing. Both athletes and business people can benefit from understanding and applying leadership principles, and this is one of the areas they are often focused on learning more about.

Since there are various types of leadership approaches and styles, most will focus on one that is most suitable for their personality and the environment they are in. Considering leadership takes place both on and off the court, and in and outside of the office, it is a skill which needs continuous refinement and practice. It is also why you find many successful athletes pursuing second careers as high achieving executives. This of course applies to both men and women.

Another common reason top performers attain their levels of success has to do with their ability to focus on the big picture. To be able to do this requires a certain amount of strategic ability. Although some strategy can be taught, the best strategists are innately gifted in this area. Learning about strategy and how and when to apply it is also one of the other factors contributing to people’s success at the height of their respective careers, but not always.

Top performers are also supported as they are perfecting their skills by many others, and they also have the ability to recognize which ones will contribute significantly to their success. Again, this is a skill honed by years of subtlety observing how other people’s skills can contribute to making your skills stronger. This isn’t taught, but it is something top performers are able to recognize and extract from those who coach, support, work and play with and manage them.

If you are tasked with determining who will become a top performer, or seeking those who are what I will refer to as being “under the radar” as a top performer on the performance field or in the working world, here are some questions to ask to find out if you are in front of a top performer in the making:

  • How have or do you stand out from others?
  • What motivates you to strive for top performance?
  • Tell me about your leadership philosophy.
  • Talk to me about the types of content which inspires you to grow.
  • What does achievement mean to you?
  • How would you describe the feeling of being competitive?
  • What vision do you have for yourself and others you play/work with?
  • Do you know how to inspire others? If so, how do you do this?
  • Do you know which people to include or exclude from your circle of excellence?
  • What happens when your performance isn’t consistent? Do you know how to course correct this?
  • How engaged are you with your teammates/colleagues/leadership group?

I could add numerous other questions, but some or all of these should be helpful in identifying top performers in the making. More importantly is to be sure not to only lean on reviewing pure performance stats, as there will be many top performers who may not have the typical stats or the traditional professional experience yet to identify them.

Keep in mind that many top performers begin to shine later in their sports and professional careers, so it is critical to not rule people out who are the “under the radar” top performers in the making.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

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Are you “that guy/girl” in the office?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Regardless of how many years you have been working, undoubtedly you have encountered both spectrums of people you enjoy working with, and those who you would rather hit the “eject” button on… if there was one. Fortunately, most people fall into the mid-range of being good to work with, but what if you are one of the “complicated/messy” people everyone dreads working with, or if you are trying to avoid hiring someone like this?

Most people do their best to avoid bringing drama into the workplace, but some people either do not realize they are doing this, or simply can’t help themselves. Sometimes it might be a phase the person is going through which makes it seem like every day is filled with unnecessary drama being brought by them into the workplace. Generally, if you take the time to ask them if they are OK, and if they realize their outside life it impacting their work, they are often not aware of this. When you point this out to them, they will either be embarrassed or grateful for the fact you are acknowledging their outside world having a negative impact on their professional environment. Asking them if there is anything you can do to help them is the right thing to do, even if you do not think you can fully support them. However, having your emotional support will sometimes be enough and exactly what they need.

Even if you are not in a hiring capacity, chances are you would want to figure out how to deal with someone who is “complicated”. Better yet, you probably want to make your working experience far more gratifying, especially if you are dealing with “complicated” people. The best approach when dealing with these type of people is to ask them a few questions. Here is what I recommend:

  • How would you rate your daily interaction satisfaction rate with your colleagues on a scale of (1-5), 5 being the highest?
  • What is the best part of your day, and coffee breaks, lunch and leaving the office can’t be one of your answers.
  • If money did not matter, what would be your ideal job?
  • Who do you admire professionally, and why?

The answers to these questions will allow you to have an open dialogue with the person about whether they are happy. If they are clearly not happy, encouraging them to think about what they need to do to make working with the people they are working with more enjoyable is a good place to start. If you do not manage the person you are having the conversation with, being empathetic to their situation could be the catalyst to turn their “complicated/messy” attitude around. However, if you do manage the person who is having difficultly working with either one or more people on the team, encourage them to find ways that can make the work encounters they are having less drama filled or less combative. If they are not aware of their behavior, pointing this out to them, or what I call “showing them the mirror of how they are perceived by others”, has had a dramatic impact on people numerous times I have had this conversation.

If you are in a hiring position and are building your “dream team”, here are some questions you can ask to make sure you seek and find the people who you will not regret hiring.

Questions to ask to avoid hiring “that” person, or answering to find out if you are “that” person:

  • How important are celebrating your colleague’s birthdays to you on a scale of (1-5), 5 being the highest rating.
  • Tell me about your most recent social service experience in helping others. When was it, and what was the best part of the experience?
  • What kinds of teams were you on growing up? This can include being in a band, on the debate team, in a choir or the drama club and not just sports teams. NOTE: If they were not on any teams, this might indicate they have limited experience with collaborative experiences.
  • What is an example of an experience you are most proud of accomplishing?
  • Tell me about things that motivate you to be kind to others.
  • Have you ever had a service job (e.g., bartending, waiting tables, camp counselor)? NOTE: I have generally only hired people who say “yes” to this question, as it demonstrates they know how to serve the needs of others first, and interact well with people.
  • What is one or a couple of things you are passionate about? NOTE: They do not have to be work related.
  • On a scale of 1-5, how important is it for people to get along? Five is the highest rating.
  • When you walk into a room, how would others know you have arrived?

Since most people will be working for a large majority of their lives, it is imperative to have strategies in place for finding the right people and companies to work with and for. Life is too short to work with too many of “that person”. Do you agree?

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.