When I first watched this video I giggled.
Then a thought came to me; do we really understand what a leader does day in and day out to effectively lead his/her team?
In each snippet I noticed the crab, the ant, and the penguin do things I would expect a leader to do. They noticed a need, called the team to action, and joined in with the group to get something done.
But a group doesn’t automatically follow the leader. Believe me. I was with a group of about 15 children recently, prepared and happy to teach them a song for an upcoming Christmas program, and they were all over the place. I threw up my hands and uncharacteristically said, “All I see is a bunch of ‘Me’s!’ ” to which they started chanting, “Me me me me me…..” I was perplexed and dismayed. I was substituting for the regular music leader, so some of their antics were understandable. I asked if the children were always like that? Yes, was the answer with rolled eyes.
That answer didn’t sit well with me. How could this have happened and what was to be done short of yelling (not something I feel is very effective over time) or staying one step ahead of them with tricks up my sleeve (very tiring and not always possible)?
The best answer for me is in communication and consistency.
[And, as an aside, if you are working with children who aren’t your own, the stewardship for discipling them lies with the parents, ( not the music leader), so the primary consequence is to bring the parents in or the children to the parents. That’s logical to me.]
Explain the expectations, make sure that the good and not so good consequences are understood, and follow through immediately and consistently.
That always works when you are the one and only leader. When you are able to paint a picture of where the group is going and regularly evaluate their progress you can see where the weak links are.
But what if you have a co-leader- a partner? What if you have people undermining your authority? What can be done?
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” ~Dumbledore- J.K.Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
There is no hope to meet any kind of realistic goals in a team divided. Changes will have to be made if progress is desired.
When people feel like problems with the group will be handled by the leaders(s) there’s a feeling of safety that produces a peaceful and productive environment.
Take that safety away and the group won’t function at their best. There will be frustration with and finger-pointing at the “clowns” or the” problem” members of the group, but I promise you that the real disappointment will be secretly directed toward the leadership.
Working with groups can be very rewarding.
The key to their success is in finding the strengths and weaknesses in the individuals within the people who make up the whole, and the willingness of people who lead them to step up and consistently do what makes them strong.
Change from within the leader comes first, followed by a change in leadership if that doesn’t happen. Finally, if the group is going to progress, swift and sure consequences have to be doled out to increase security for the group.
It seems simple to me.
What do you think?