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Leaders Win The Locker Room

Leaders Win The Locker Room
Lincoln appointed the best people he could find to his cabinet, even though several of them had been his rivals! He cleverly cultivated in them the sense that they - and by extension the country - could stretch beyond perceived limitations during one of the most critical times in our history.

70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work. The vast majority of these workers are disengaged because of their boss. Why is this happening? Results from my Striver Quotient (registered trademark symbol here) Assessment reveal the root of the problem. Too many people in leadership positions are managing instead of leading.

The SQ evaluates the willingness to strive together in 4 key workplace relationships - to Self, Team, Boss, and Direct Reports. A championship team is developed when team members continually work to build strong relationships to Self, Team, and Boss. But this process breaks down unless the boss is continually working to build a strong Relationship to Direct Reports. Relationship-building must start at the top and emanate down. When this doesn't happen efforts by team members to build strong relationships to Self, Team, and Boss become compromised.

Managers do not build a strong Relationship to Direct Reports. They often possess a strong ego, but lack empathy. Managers know where they want to take their team, but do not engage direct reports in the process of setting the course to get there - beyond obligatory feedback sessions. They rely on simply telling people what to do. Most ideas flow in one direction. This approach creates an atmosphere of distrust, fraying the Relationship to Boss dynamic. Relationship to Team is also damaged as teams become siloed and the strengthening of Relationship to Self - triggered by the willingness to move out of one's comfort zone - becomes stifled. Eventually managers lose the locker room and people begin to show up simply to collect a paycheck.

Leaders possess a strong ego combined with empathy. They have a destination in mind for their team, but engage direct reports in the process of plotting a course to get there. While managers rely on telling, leaders seek to cultivate. I guide leaders through the process of building a strong Relationship to Direct Reports by first helping them cultivate a strong Relationship to Self in their direct reports - the sense that they can stretch beyond what they perceive to be their limitations. This triggers cultivation of strong Relationships to Team and Boss. In the end all relationships flourish!

A championship team exudes a Strive Together Spirit, the sense that everyone involved in excited about getting better...together! The cultivation of this spirit starts at the top. In companies that are led people come to work for more than a paycheck. Leaders win the locker room.

Next time: We are inundated with leadership advice today and yet we have fewer leaders than ever before. How did George Washington and Abraham possibly become great leaders without leadership training?