Why the Best Leaders Have Ambitious Teams
The best leaders know how to change the context of their environment to ensure the best from their team members. Find out how you can do it too.
Many of the leaders in my life have put a tonne of focus on the individual. They constantly try their best to motivate and encourage their people to carry out the tasks they need them to do.
Before I keep on writing, I think it is an essential part of leadership. Without caring about the people and putting them first, you will never get anything done.
However, ambitious teams are those who feel strongly about a unified goal. In most cases, I have found that the best leaders have always had these types of co-workers. Their teams are full of energy and seek to carry out all the tasks necessary.
A massive part of this is that the leader puts their team first. But, there is something else that is often not seen that great leaders do. And that is the ability to produce an environment that brings out the best from each team member.
All leaders know it is vital to put their people first. In fact, in every organisation I have worked in, most leaders have done this. They ensured I was working on personal development and getting my ideas heard.
However, to ensure the best ideas and person comes to work every day, the environment must be right. Leaders are not only tasked to motivate people. If that were the case, they would be motivational speakers.
Leaders are also accountable for creating an environment that brings out the best in people. If anything, this is the initial stage of ensuring you have an ambitious team. Without the right environment, your team will not be able to thrive.
So, before I get into how leaders can do this, I would like to present an analogy I heard to help get the point across.
Why Your Environment Matters
Recently, the UK had a heatwave that led to temperatures soaring past 32 degrees Celcius. Even now, the UK is expecting another heatwave, with temperatures expecting to hit 30 degrees.
Now I know for some countries that is not too hot at all. However, in the UK, this is a great treat. Well, at least you would think that.
The reason why I say that is because the last heatwave caused the office to not function. People were complaining about the heat and could not concentrate.
No one wanted to get up and walk, and many signed off early to get home.
Everyone was low on sleep because the nights were too warm. And many of my days in this heatwave were unproductive. I spent most of it trying to find somewhere cool to work in my house.
Now let me give you another scenario.
All of my family are from the Island of St. Lucia. When I went to visit, I remember the temperature being much warmer than the UK heatwave. But because this island is small and we live close to the coast, we got a wonderful ocean breeze.
Every day the children wanted to go out and play, and even I wanted to get involved. Every morning I felt the urge to jump, visit the mountains or play football. If you were there, you would feel energised and ready to go every morning.
Unfortunately, most leaders create an environment similar to the heatwave in the UK. No matter how much you try to motivate people and push them towards a goal, they only have one thing on their minds. And that is where they can find a cool spot. In other words, when can they leave.
For the very few leaders who create an environment like St.Lucia, they do not have to say much to their team. Their team are ready to go and are willing to carry out tasks.
Changing Your Environment for the Better
Although many leaders like to think this, their job is not to change people. Yes, leaders can influence people and change the course of others lives, but not change them.
A person who does not want to change never will. Humans are very stubborn creatures and seek their independence above all else. Leaders should never try to do this, yet everywhere we see it happening.
One of the best things happening in the business world is the shift from operation to people. No longer are companies defined by what they do. Instead, it is by the people who do it.
Companies now hold values and attract a certain calibre of individuals. Even our ways of working are becoming more people-focused. People can work in their own time and have opportunities to develop themselves within working hours.
All of this is great, but if the environment is not right, people will not be willing to do them. Ambitious teams are created not by motivating each individual.
The best way leaders ensure a good environment is by changing the context. To change the context of one’s surroundings is to redefine it whilst bringing it to each individual.
I have found that the best leaders change the context of their environment by redefining three things.
People get up every day to go to work. The regular view is the office is the place where people can get things done. However, seeing it like this detaches the individual from the environment they work in.
The best leaders make the office a building, but the business the people. They let their team know that your work is not about the physical space but about the person you are. After all, if it were not for the people, the company would not operate.
People often see their team as a group of individuals. Thanks to our high performance-focused organisations, we are competing within our teams to move up.
Unfortunately, this devalues what teamwork is all about. Leaders who change the context of their environment make working in a team a positive-sum game.
It is not about what people can gain but more about what people can give. The team is a safety net, a support network and most importantly, full of people we can trust.
Finally, the work people do is often attached to the paycheck at the end. Once again, people tend to become detached from their work when they view it in this way. With this view, work is only meaningful for sustaining self.
However, ambitious teams are driven to work because they believe it is valuable. Just like me wanting to run and jump in St. Lucia, ambitious teams feel the same way about their work.
This is only possible when leaders take a more agile approach to work and let team members control what they are doing. When work is handed to us with the expectation of a particular result, we feel limited and less able to express ourselves.
That is why the best leaders ensure that their teams can express themselves and ideas through work. Leaders with ambitious teams do not define work as something their team do for them or even the organisation.
Work becomes something the individual does to gain a sense of self-achievement whilst pursuing a common goal. It is not controlled or restrained. Instead, it is open and free. In this environment, work feels more meaningful, and the team are motivated to do it.
Changing people is one of the hardest things anyone could attempt to do. We do not like change, especially when everything seems to be going well. Leaders who try to change people will never have ambitious teams because ambition comes from the individual.
Leaders must ensure that they create the right environment to allow for ambition to be born in others. It is how the best leaders have always done it, and it is still how we should do it today.
So, instead of trying to create people who want to be ambitious, create environments that attract and motivate ambition.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.