When I talk to my clients about leadership, I usually refer to teams as tribes. I talk to them about making sure they have Mojo in that tribe to keep the tribe thriving. Given that my company name, Yellow Brick Road, comes from The Wizard of Oz, I thought I would base this article all around Dorothy and her leadership of her Tribe.
Commit to a Shared Purpose
People need a compelling reason be in the tribe, and this is why the tribe needs to create and communicate an inspiring purpose or vision of the future.
The purpose sets out your tribe’s or organisation's why – why you all get up in the morning to do what you do. You need to develop this partly by understanding the values of the people in your tribe, partly by understanding the capabilities and resourcefulness of your tribe or organisation, and partly by conducting an intelligent analysis of your environment, and selecting the best way forward within it.
Dorothy had a personal purpose – to get home to Kansas, to get there she thought she needed to see the Wizard, Scarecrow wanted a brain, the Tinman needed a heart and the Lion needed courage. They all thought these would come from the Wizard. So as a Tribe, they were united behind the common purposes of;
“We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
Consider your tribe – in this context, your work tribe, does it have a purpose? And if not what would that look like?
Motivate others and Deliver the Purpose
Your Purpose needs to appeal to your tribe's values, and inspire them with where you're going, and why.
Use storytelling as part of your call to action: this will help people appreciate the positive impact of your purpose on the people you're trying to help.
Then, talk about your purpose often. Link it to people's goals and tasks to give it context, and help people see how they can contribute to it.
Nothing significant happens unless you encourage your tribe. So, make sure that you know about the different kinds of motivation, and use these to inspire your people to deliver their best.
Back in Oz
Dorothy uses the song again “We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz” to reinforce the purpose as each new team member joins.
Think about what you can embed your purpose into your tribe?
Set Clear Goals
Following on from a clear purpose, you as a tribe member and the rest of the tribe, need to know what goals are required to achieve that purpose.
On the occasions that tribes don't function well, it's often because there's a lack of communication and understanding about what the tribe’s objectives are.
Make sure your tribe members understand the tribe's goals.
Back in Oz
Dorothy and the gang learnt that they had to kill the witch – a clear goal, which they executed with no hesitation.
Build Ever-Stronger, Trust-Based Relationships with Your Tribe
You need to focus your attention on your tribe and work hard to help them achieve their goals and dreams.
You need to work constantly to build relationships, earn trust, and help your people grow as individuals.
The leader should meet your tribe members individually to understand their developmental needs, and help them to meet their goals.
You need to be open and honest in your interactions.
Set aside time to coach your tribe.
Remember the stronger the relationship, the more likely it is to endure the difficult times.
Back at Oz
Dorothy is respected by everyone in her tribe; Scarecrow, Tinman & Lion.
They are fiercely loyal and by the end of the story they are highly successful – as individuals, and as a team.
In contrast, The Wicked Witch of the West’s team (The flying monkeys) is disengaged. As soon as the witch died, they defected from her tyranny to be good.
Dorothy builds Ever-Strong, Trust-Based Relationships with her Tribe. To begin with, she regularly reminds her team members of the purpose of their work – to get to the Emerald City and get home. She's a role model for her team and demonstrates integrity.
She sets high expectations, but "walks the walk" to demonstrate the standards that she expects.
Be flexible – know your place and the place of others
The old adage “The sum of parts is greater than the whole” was never truer than in the tribe. However, research shows us that we tend to gravitate naturally towards likeminded similar people. For instance, a boss will naturally gravitate towards someone more like her. This means thinking and action in the group will be limited to those who think and act similarly. If I was to recruit a team based on my personality, we would have a great time, talk a lot and not get much done.
Psychometrics in Understanding tribes
One way to encourage and nurture personality diversity is Psychometric profiling.
Understanding what both yours and your tribes preferred personality type is by using psychometric tests is an established method for helping build stronger teams and stronger relationships. There are many psychometric systems out there, most stem from the work of Carl Jung in the 1920’s. Some systems are simple some more sophisticated. The important thing to remember about them, whichever system is used is that they only reflect our preferred styles, this does not mean we cannot act in the exact opposite way, we just naturally prefer not to, but we can train ourselves to do so. An example of this is; I prefer not be detailed, but through my accountancy training I learnt how to be detailed and when to apply that detail into my work.
Back in Oz
You couldn’t have had a more diverse team! A young girl with big dreams , a tinman with a big heart, a scarecrow who was a thinker, a lion full of courage .
Be positive and grateful
Being positive reinforces positive neural pathways and fosters more positivity. You will be 15% more happy if someone else in the tribe is happy. Further, if a direct connection's friend was happy, the direct connection's happiness increased by 15% and the original individual's happiness increased by 10%, even though that person had no direct interaction with or in many cases did not personally know the direct connection's friend.
We can spread more positivity in our tribe quite simply, here are a few suggestions;
- Simply smile more
- Give genuine compliments
- Be polite and friendly
- Show an interest in the person
- Crack a joke or two / tell funny stories
- See the funny side of situations
- Focus on people’s strengths more than weaknesses
- Give a helping hand
- Be grateful
Back in Oz
All that singing as they went on their journey definitely lifted their spirits.
Dealing with Difficult People
Prof. Stephen Peters talks about relationships in his book The Chimp Paradox. He is keen to emphasize that in a relationship, be it work or home, we fundamentally have to accept that we cannot change the other person, only they can do this. We accepted them for what they are and we have decided if we want to change our approach towards them. He says that you can either;
Accept the person for who they are
Change the way you approach the person
Get out of the relationship
The latter is somewhat difficult in a work situation, and we may not be able to accept 1. So that really leaves us with changing your approach. You cannot expect anything in return from the person for your change if they respond positivity this is a welcome bonus, but it should not be taken as a given.
Back in Oz
The Witch – enough said!
Be a Great Communicator
Be involved and active within the tribe. When you communicate within your tribe – whether showing support or challenging their thinking – it's important to stay positive and respectful. Even if you disagree with someone, don't become emotional. Being objective and fair will make a good impression; getting upset and angry won't.
Try to do as much face to face, more than half of all communication is in body language, without it the message changes, the phone is better than text, as around 40% of our communication is in voice tone and pace etc. Less than 10% of language is in the actual words we use.
Back in Kansas
Back in bed in Kansas, Dorothy tells Aunt Em’;
“All I kept saying to everybody was, I want to go home. And they sent me home.”
Ian Hacon, Founder, Yellow Brick Road