Its about the team, not the Individual

Who's accountable?
Photo by Eric Ziegler (@ericzigus)
When I first joined my latest team, I specifically went and met with each team that reported up to me. As I did my introductions, I let my teams all know that I am a big fan of soccer, so much so that I even play.

Because I am who I am, I read many different blogs and listen to many different podcasts that cover topics that span topics such as leadership, soccer, and technology. I read and listen to podcasts to stay up on the latest trends and to keep abreast of the latest things happening on things I am passionate about.

Recently, I was listening to the soccer podcast, Men in Blazers (@meninblazers +Men In Blazers) .(btw, I highly recommend listening to these gentlemen if you like soccer. Not only are they informative, they are rather funny). During a recent podcast, they were interviewing Jose Mourinho, the current manager of Chelsea. As I listened to the interview, he provided insights that I believe apply to any team anywhere, especially teams that in companies.

These insights were about how the team is the most important thing, and that individuals are important as part of the team. This sentiment is absolutely important for any long running successful teams.
"It's about the team, not the individual"
"The manager is no more or less important than the individuals on the team"
Why would he say these statements? He hints at holding the individuals accountable for their actions, even the manager.

He uses an example in the podcast to get his point across, There is a section in the podcast where he talks about the bus leaving on time. You could take it as a control from the top, but listen carefully on how he talks about the situation. He says that the team has agreed that at 9 am the bus will leave. And if you are not on the bus at 9 am, the bus leaves without you, because the team agreed it would leave at 9am. And if the manager is not on the bus at 9am? the bus leaves without the manager.

While you might think this is a power game for Jose, I look at it differently. What he is saying is that the team is important, and to hold the team back because someone was not holding themselves accountable to being on time is not acceptable. Hence, each person is accountable for their actions and accountable for making sure the team meets the team goals.

Patience when values and actions don't align

Sunset in San Diego
Photo by Eric Ziegler
What would you consider to be your personal #values? Do you have specific things that you know are always true, because that is who you are? Those things are most likely a value you hold tightly and is what make you who you are.

How often does your values and your actions align? As is discussed in this podcast, Aligning our values to our Actions, there are times when your actions will not align to your values. While the podcast talks about values and money, this applies to a much broader subjects and is really about any type of action, be it an action related to money, or an action on how you react to something your best friend said to you.

Why are there gaps between your values and your actions? Because we are human. So remember that when another person is involved, understanding their perspective is always a first good step. Have you ever seen a peer, a friend, or your manager do something out of character and outside of their values (at least what you understand to be their values)?  Sometimes the gap is there for a reason, so pause and try to understand. In some cases you might never understand why the gap is there.  But it is always important to realize that there is more to the gap than what you see on the surface.

You don't have all the Answers - deal with it

In San Diego
Photo by Eric Ziegler
A friend recently passed along a blog post from Harvard Business Review ( +Harvard Business Review @harvardbiz) along with a note where he said:

"I seem to recall back when I took the ABC role that you said something along the lines of "you don't need to have all of the answers - you just need to know where to go to find them" - this article helps crystallize that advice a bit more for me"

No matter your role, your job is not to know everything. Your job is to help others in a way that provides business value. And to deliver that software, you need to take one step at a time with the goal that you complete each task in the most efficient way possible. Sometimes we make it hard on ourselves, because we hold ourselves accountable to know all of the answers. More often than not, we are most effective when we know what we are good at and what we know and are honest with ourselves when we admit to what we are not good at and what we don't know. 

When you are able to recognize both, the next step is to incorporate others into providing that business value.  So sometimes it takes more than one person to accomplish your goal.

Check out this article leading people when they know more than you do

(btw, you are all leaders in your own right, leading is not about just managing people)