Chapter 1. 

Everyone loves the guy with a stick of gum.

Manage other people? Hell no.

Let’s face it: leading people can be a challenge; a challenge that no one wants. As it turns out, that’s not bullsh*t. CareerBuilder’s survey conducted in 2014 with approximately 3600 people demonstrated that the majority of people don’t want to lead other people.

I mean, who can blame them? These examples definitely highlight the pros of leading others:

  • Teammate A is underperforming consistently and now you have to work with HR to get them on a performance plan. Between anxiety and nervousness, there goes your entire week.
  • Teammate B and Teammate D don’t get along, and now you have to spend the majority of your day dealing with conflict resolution, and you see it starting to affect Teammate C. 
  • Your boss tells you “your team is underperforming”, and asks you to come up with some ways to get them back on track at 4:30pm on Friday. Kiss that happy hour with Alison from Accounting goodbye (p.s., hangout with the accounting people. They like cocktails, too).
  • Your team is getting absolutely massacred with inbound contacts and morale is at an absolute low. 
  • Surprise! It’s Monday, and Teammate C has put in their two week’s notice because they can’t handle the toxicity between Teammate B and D. Guess what you’re spending the rest of your week doing… 

Who in their right mind would want to lead people? People often get tossed into people leadership prematurely, and that sucks. It sucks because your performance as a people leader depends on your team’s output, but if you aren’t sure how to lead your team effectively, then how can you really be successful?


The real prelude…

Leading can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. The good thing is that people want to be led. I’ve never heard of anyone say:

“Good morning, world. I can’t wait to do poorly at my job today!”

People want to be led the right way: like people. That means we put aside the KPIs and OKRs for a second to really build the foundation for our teams success, and then the byproduct of hitting those KPIs and OKRs should fall in line nicely. Everyone loves success, but before that even shows up on the horizon, the journey starts with us people leaders.

It may sound complicated, but what if I told you there are some foundational building blocks that you can lay down to help you become a good, or even better, people leader? These foundations have helped me time and time again in becoming a better leader, and I want to share them with you.

Tones’s take on leadership

Without making it sound too overly simplistic, I follow three foundations when it comes to getting the best out of the teams I get to work with: 

  • Advocacy
  • Alignment
  • Accountability

While these are the core foundations, there’s much more to it than that. There are three attributes that play into each, and those are what I want to share more in depth. Because hey, leading people doesn’t need to be difficult. 

In the next and first installment, we’ll lower our internal guard walls and talk about the first attribute of advocacy, vulnerability, and the wonders it can have on forming your right way of leadership.

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