“How to get the best from those you lead.”

“The simple things, the true things, the silent men who do things,” is a line from Jack London’s book, “The Call of the Wild.”

Great leaders, without fanfare and spotlights, silently pursue the mission and vision with passion and dogged determination. But, most of all, they maintain a strong sense of responsibility to fulfill the vision and finish the mission with excellence.

They learn early and never waver from the belief that getting the best effort from those they lead is their top priority as a leader. Great leaders look for team members to empower and inspire. Poor leaders look for helpers to make themselves look good and use them for their own personal gain.

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth could have accomplished his Father’s mission alone. Instead, he chose a team of common everyday people to teach, empower and deploy. Today, the Bible remains the best-selling book worldwide and Christianity still thrives around the world.

Any great enterprise is about building a team to win by accomplishing the mission and seeing the vision become a reality. It is not about assembling a group of superstars who constantly struggle for the individual spotlight and care little about teamwork and team wins.
Great leaders never insist on conformity and cookie-cutter team members. Instead, they prefer creative thinkers, competent performers and above all, team players passionate about winning, not just competing.

Here are seven ways you can get the best from your team:

1. Create a daily work environment based on a spirit of excellence and a compelling vision, worthy of your team members’ giving a third or more of every day to its pursuit.

2. Be generous with opportunities promoting the well-being of your team. Healthy and emotionally mature people always produce more with less effort and greater joy!

3. Make sure your team is adequately prepared for the challenging opportunities you provide as their leader. Everyone wants to feel confident, valuable, and successful. You have not succeeded as a leader until everyone on your team has that experience.

4. Match the person to the right opportunity, not just the task at hand. Know their strengths and weaknesses and set reasonable expectations. Give in occasionally. It can have a powerful effect, especially in high-stress situations.

5. Give constant, consistent, and honest feedback. Never compromise the truth. However, great leaders always find a way to share negative news in a positive way. Remember, everyone celebrates a cheerleader and tolerates a critic.

6. Develop relational equity. Have human relationships as well as professional relationships. Never forget, no one ever overdosed on encouragement. Make deposits every day in your team members’ emotional bank accounts.

7. Reward individual accomplishment, but only if it makes the team better. Superstars eventually burn out without a supportive team that causes them to shine.

As a leader, are you looking for team members to empower and elevate? Or are you looking for people to use and make sure they don’t cast a shadow on your stardom? Which leader do you think has the lowest team member turnover rate?