Team Building Tips from Great Leaders

Boosting entrepreneurship and small business so jobs are created is the focus of the new StartUp Partnership America, a private/public sector initiative chaired by former AOL co-founder Steve Case.  While creating jobs is certainly needed, taking care of employees is equally important from a talent management resource issue.great leaders on effective team building and leadership skills

Your team is working hard. In a lot of cases they’re carrying the workload of workers that have been laid off or not hired. Overlay that with the fact that the #1 critical shortcoming of leaders, according to research firm Bersin, is their inability to effectively coach and provide career development. This is unfortunate given that Millennials consider career development as a key reason for staying with an employer. (PWC study of CEOs)

So, for the leaders among you who want to keep peak performers, here are some quotes from great leaders on how to hire and build a great team, communicate with them in good and bad times and lead well:

Bill Bradley – former NBA basketball star, presidential candidate, and Rhodes scholar says the satisfaction of winning on and off the court (workplace) is not a lone sport:

“You can say that you can define your success by how many points you score but that’s not how you define success. I don’t think. And, I’ve found that the athletes, the basketball players, who define their success by their individual statistics, ultimately become dissatisfied. And, the real tragedy is that many of them who define themselves in terms of their individual statistics only realize when it’s too late that the most important thing was for the team to win. And, for the team to win with you being a contributing member, that’s a competition. It’s a game. There are rules. There’s a time period and, at the end, they determine who’s ahead and who’s behind so you have a very specific area to pour your competitiveness into. And, I think that’s different from simply being nothing but a competitive person.”

Dennis Conner – four time America’s Cup Winner, on how to communicate with teams during periods of high stress and how to hire well:

“Sometimes people think better when they’re not excited and when they have the right mental level of anxiety. So you can yell and scream at a guy and it might make his performance worst because he’s already trying his best and now you make him nervous. If they have the attitude in the beginning, you don’t have to, uh, put the spurs in them and that’s where staffing comes into play and the commitment to the commitment. It’s attitude, attitude, attitude.”

Steve Case – the co-founder of AOL and chairman of the Startup America Partnership, a public-private initiative to support entrepreneurship and small business, on the role of a manager and how to communicate with your team in good times or bad times:

“There are very few examples of things that were just sort of a rocket ship one way up. It’s much more up and down. I think the ability to manage those ups and downs, as a leader of a company, actually be a shock absorber for those ups and downs. When people are down, almost giving up, reminding them why it’s important to stay the course and why this journey is so interesting. And when they’re up, and maybe everything’s going well and they think they’re the smartest people in the world, reminding them that maybe they’re lucky too.”

Jack Welch – former CEO of GE and arguably one of the best businessmen of the 20th century, on the role of a manager:

“I think business is a lot about spirit. When I think of spirit, I think of energy. I think of excitement. I think of exciting others. I think what’s worst then a manager who sits and manages people? I mean this is all about exciting people. This is all about making it more fun.

This is a personal favorite from Welch that puts it all in perspective: “This is where you spend your life! Have a ball at it! Why would you want to come to a place as a stuffed shirt and hang around a corporation? It’s dumb unless you had a ball at it.” Right?

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