The popular and often-quoted leadership axiom “speed of the leader, speed of the team” captures the reality that the leader of a group of people sets the tone and pace for the group. Of course, there are exceptions. There are times that gifted people with high integrity give themselves fully to their work despite their leader being disengaged or disingenuous. But often the axiom is true. Healthy teams are typically led by healthy leaders. Here are ten ways leaders shape the teams they lead:
1. Speed of the leader, speed of the team
Lethargic leaders lead lethargic teams. If a leader moves slowly, the team will inevitably move slowly too. If a leader is decisive and fast, the team will be fast too.
2. Conviction of the leader, conviction of the team
The convictions that shape the leader will shape the team. Or they are not really convictions. If something is a conviction, the leader will not stop declaring and driving that value.
3. Expectations of the leader, expectations of the team
A leader with high expectations will likely lead a team who has high expectations of themselves, each other, and the impact their work can have.
4. Language of the leader, language of the team
Wise leaders steward their words very carefully because, for better or worse, the language of the leader impacts the language of the team.
5. Learning of the leader, learning of the team
What the leader learns impacts the team because the leader is going to lead with new insight as learning is acquired. But if a leader learns is just as important. A leader who continues to learn and grow will inspire others to do the same.
6. Character of the leader, character of the team
Leaders whose words match their lives raise the collective integrity of the team. Leaders who walk humbly, act justly, and love mercy will motivate others to do the same.
7. Spending of the team, spending of the team
How a leader treats the financial resources of the organization impacts how others view those resources.
8. Attitude of the leader, attitude of the team
If a leader is optimistic and hopeful, the team will be as well. If a leader is negative and cynical, the team will follow suit.
9. Care of the leader, care of the team
A leader who cares for people and treats people with respect sets the pace for people being treated with dignity and grace. A leader who uses and manipulates people builds a culture of mistrust, backstabbing, and disregard for people.
10. Sacrifice of the leader, sacrifice of the team
Leaders who make sacrifices for the mission of the team have credibility to invite others to do the same. And the others are often inspired by the leader to make sacrifices themselves.
The list could go on and on.
Wise leaders continually evaluate their own lives because they know their lives are shaping the lives of others. Wise leaders also carefully and prayerfully approach the decision of who they place in leadership roles, because they know those leaders will greatly impact the culture of the teams they lead.