3 Signs Your Team is Malfunctioning

You have to identify the malfunction. Determine what it costs to fix it? And do everything you can in your power to get your team into top notch performance again.

The check engine light pops on in your automobile and you look in your handbook to find out you need to take your car to the dealership to have a million dollars worth of work done to it.  Your vehicle has many different components that have different functions but all work simultaneously to allow for a smooth ride and safe travels.  When one of those components malfunction, it sets off the check engine light indicating that something is wrong with the car.

This is exactly how teams work.  Everyone has different functions, but every member works together to create a high functioning unit.  When one of the members gets out of wack, we have a malfunction within the group, and the team suffers for it.  Not only the team, but every individual or company that the team directly affects.

I want to give you 3 signs that your team is malfunctioning.

1.) Leadership is Dysfunctional  

Have you ever known a team whose weakest link was the leader?  The team is determined, they have skills, they have passion, but they have no direction and instruction.

There have been ball players that were amazing at playing the game, but when they retired and tried their hand at coaching, their teams suffered and never succeeded.  Why?  Because they were good ball players and captains, but they lacked leadership skills and the ability to facilitate their players to the playoffs or championships.

We hear about people that have the money to purchase a business, hire employees, and even do some type of marketing.  But the business goes under or suffers for years. Why?  Because the leadership is toxic and lacks the leadership skills to meet the needs of their people or customers.

It’s not difficult to find signs of leadership dysfunction in most organizations – all you have to do is open your eyes.

-Mike Myatt

Here are four signs of a dysfunctional leader:

  • They seek ultimate control vs. liberating their employees
  • They are always negative vs. being inspiring
  • Always threatening vs. being instructing
  • They take up petty issues vs. being constructive

To build dynamic teams and keep them running smoothly and efficiently, quality leadership is a must.  It’s imperative that we leaders reclaim the spirit of true leadership and seek to guide and coach our teams to be well running machines.  If the leadership malfunctions, the rest of the vehicle doesn’t run right.

2.)  The Atmosphere is Toxic

Once again the leadership is a catalyst for setting the right atmosphere.  If the atmosphere is toxic your team will suffer.  How many of you have been apart of a team that suffocated from an environment that choked the life out of your group?

Automobiles can create an atmosphere full of smog and pollution.  That is why they have components on the car that recycle exhaust, and maintenance that cleans out the carbon build up.  When the proper maintenance is done to a vehicle the Malfunction Indicator Lamp illuminates indicating an issue with various parts.

To have the right atmosphere we must have constant maintenance and the right components in place to absorb the bad pollution.  For example:

  • Encourage unity instead of gossip and bad attitudes
  • Reward for good behavior and meeting goals instead of nit picking every little mistake
  • MICROMANAGING pollutes the atmosphere
  • Shut down clicks and always work on team building
  • Developing clear cut boundaries and rules instead of setting unrealistic and unclear expectations 

I am sure their are many more thoughts and maybe you can comment on some ideas that you have.  But I know this for sure, there are things we can do to clear up the atmosphere that allows our teams to perform at the maximum level.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

-Ken Blanchard

“As long as I have this one person, my business, my team will be A-OK!”  Only problem with this attitude is when you take out that one person your team suffers.  But a good environment that fosters teamwork will bring everyone to the same level of efficiency and the team will succeed no matter what’s thrown at them.

3.  Leaders Fail to Produce Leaders

Notice a common thread here?  Leaders fail!  Leaders, please take responsibility for your team, no matter if it’s at work, at home, on the field, or at church.

We as leaders face a daunting task, and that is to create leaders around us.  Your organization will only rise as your team rises.  If you do not want your team to be dysfunctional, then the best way to remedy this is to create a ladder for everyone to get on so they can go up.

Creating a tight group of people and fostering growth will develop a foundation for future leaders.

Training, training, training is everything.  Knowledge is power.  Giving them the information that they need to succeed will determine the type of leader they will be.  Technical skills, people skills, and personal development training would be a great start to growing leaders.

Goal setting and projecting.  Maintaining a strict goal program.  Cast the vision and maintain steps to meeting these goals.  People get bored and anxious when they just have a job to do.  They want purpose and they want to make a difference.

Give individual team members responsibilities.  Allow them to make decisions and coach them along the way.  Allow for failure and mistakes.  Remember, THEY ARE NOT PERFECT!

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

― William Arthur Ward

Determining to take your team to the next level demonstrates the type of leader you are.  Making a difference in their lives, and helping them grow the leader within them should be your ultimate goal.  By doing this you reduce stress, create great customer interactions, the loyalty and morality will rise.  They will care about the business not just a paycheck.  They will care about the team and the family versus their own good.  It has always and will always be about others.

Conclusion:

Is your check engine light on in your team?  Is there a malfunction and dysfunction somewhere?

You have to identify the malfunction.  Determine what it costs to fix it?  And do everything you can in your power to get your team into top notch performance again.  Do not let your team become dysfunctional, and if you inherited that kind of team, take the challenge and grow with them!

Dustin L. Carr

thesuccessfulleader.blog

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The Handy Leader

You do not become a leader from laziness! Some people believe that work is a four-letter curse word. Look at all the great leaders that we read about and I promise you that one of their shining characteristics were that they worked extremely hard.

Your hands speaks volumes about you!  I personally work with my hands everyday of my life.  People often times ask me what I do for a living, and I say, “I manage a preventive maintenance shop.”  And they respond by saying they figured, based on how my hands look.  Hands are a very important part of our body, so much so that we take for granted many times the functionality and value that they provide for us each and everyday of our lives.

In John C. Maxwell’s book, Thinking For a Change, in the cartoon, Charlie Brown is holding up his hands and telling Lucy, “These are the hands which may someday accomplish great things.  These are hands which may someday do marvelous works!  They may build mighty bridges, or heal the sick, or hit home runs, or write soul-stirring novels!  These are the hands which may someday change the course of destiny!”  Lucy looks at his hands and simply says, “They’ve got jelly on them.” (1)

Your hands are a big part of your dreams and your ability to lead.  As a kid I would play games, throw rocks, and build tree houses.  My hands then began to write equations, take test, and wash dishes at a part-time job.  Now my hands work everyday, hold my babies, and point others in the right direction.  I have great plans for my hands, I want them to do great things and make great things happen.  Let me give you a few thoughts on how you can use your hands to lead.

Remember There Are No Handouts

As a leader we should not expect any handouts or freebies.  Do not get me wrong, sometimes the pendulum swings our way and a gift will fall right into our laps.  I for one will take full advantage of it and exploit it to the best of my abilities.  But for the most part nothing is for free and we should fully expect to earn our way to the top.

I never was a person who wanted a handout. I was a cafeteria worker. I’m not too proud to ask the Best Western manager to give me a job. I have cleaned homes.

-Shirley Jackson

Old-timers and even a great majority of the people today understand this concept, that permanent handouts can cripple a person’s ability to lead.  Here are a few things to help you climb your way to the top:

  • Accept responsibility- Understand where you are at right now.  You might be at the bottom.  Or you may not be an effective leader with a dysfunctional team.  Accept your position and situation.
  • Develop a plan-  What is your plans to grow as a leader?  What is your projection of where you are going?  How are you going to get to the top?  Be specific, be realistic, but be optimistic.
  • Work your butt off-  Do not accept handouts! WORK YOUR BUTT OFF!  MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Handouts will do nothing but weaken you and keep you down.  Do not accept the way things are.  Do not accept the status quo!  Do not wait for something to happen, do something about it!

Getting Your Hands Dirty

You do not become a leader from laziness!  Some people believe that work is a four-letter curse word.  Look at all the great leaders that we read about and I promise you that one of their shining characteristics were that they worked extremely hard.

“Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.”

-Ecclesiastes 9:10

You must determine what it is you want.  Do you want a good marriage?  Do you want your congregation to grow?  Do you want to meet a new sales goal?  Do you want a nice bass boat?  Do you want straight A’s?

Whatever it is you want, you need to wrapped your hands around the plow, put your nose down, and drive forward.  You will break a sweat, be tested and tried, broken and beaten!  But let consistency be your friend!  Let patience be your confidant!  Embrace discipline as your brother and work as your sister!

Managing and leading can be a dirty job.  Dealing with people and personalities can give you callouses and blisters.  Leading your family in this crazy generation can litter your body with bumps and bruises.  But in the end it can be said of you that your were not afraid of a little work.  You gave it everything you got!

I learned the value of hard work by working hard.

-Margaret Mead

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“Finesse”

I am reminded of the early days of working in the preventive maintenance industry, I would be working with a lot of plastic pieces underneath the hood of a car.  Inevitably, I would break something and have to go and explain myself to the boss.  He would just shake his head and say “Finesse!  Finesse! Finesse!  It’s just plastic! Be easy with it!”

Leadership is a lot like this.  Working with people takes lots of finesse.  I liken it to an artist that has the most delicate touch.  Most artist do not use hammers and shovels to paint a masterpiece, but rather use the slightest stroke and pinpoint accuracy when placing the brush to the canvas.

Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.

-John Wooden

Here a few quick thoughts to help you with finesse:

  • Have a passion for being a leader
  • Seek mastery in all you do
  • Never be afraid of failure, just get another canvas

Finesse requires an expert touch from years of training, years of failure and success, knowledge of the paints and canvas, and years of taking raw material and applying them with such vision, passion, and skills.

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

-Aristotle

Finally, as a leader, do not accept handouts, do not be afraid to get your hands dirty, and remember that finesse will create the masterpiece.  Look now at both of your hands and ask yourself, “What am I doing with these hands, that will make me a great leader, a great parent, or a great student?”  You can be a hands on leader and truly make a difference.  Now go for it!

 

 

The Inspired Leader

Do you struggle with inspiration? Or, just need an extra shot in the arm? This article is for you.

I have a book called The Inspirational Leader, by John Adair.  This book begins by describing the need for leaders to inspire others to maximum efficiency.  To be a leader one must rally their people around the common goals that are set forth by management.  But may I say that we have few inspirational leaders, because they aren’t inspired themselves.  I want to break away from the “Anatomy of the Leader” this once and just encourage you to be inspired.  If you lack inspiration here are few helps to get you back on track.

Look For Inspiration in Everything

I was watching a show hosted by Steve Harvey, called Little Big Shots, and this boy came out in an electric wheelchair.  He was famous on the internet for his videos of him singing and rapping.  What I loved most about this kid, though he has a bone crippling disease and has every right to have a bleak outlook on life, this young man had the most positive energy and can electrify a room.  His singing was second to none and it was awesome, but his attitude was even better.  So what does this have to do with leadership?

Leadership, many times is a frame of mind.  How we think determines our actions.  Watching a young man like that makes me wonder why I grumble and complain, and feel the “drudgery” of life.  Leaders have to dig down and find something or someone that can inspire them and help them to develop a positive mindset.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de Saint Exupery

Oh let us lead by example, with intelligence, with confidence, but let us never fail to lead by inspiration.  What about those famous coaches that inspired teams to greatness and championships.

These coaches were hard on their men and women, they worked them to the limits, they disciplined the players that did not want to do right, but foremost they were championship coaches because they inspired their teams.

You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation.        –Homer Rice

Find something that inspires you.  Enjoy the feeling.  Relish the moment.  And share it with others.

Quotes Are Not Fixes

I love quotes and I believe they are important.  Quotes are small windows into the life of geniuses that preceded before us.  They are bursts of inspirations, that may enlighten us, lift us, brighten us, and many other emotions, but may I say the most important outcome of quotes are meant to change us.

Inspiration is great, but let us use it as a tool.  Your goal as a leader is to always be changing.  Remember this, “No leader has ever inspired people to change, that were not first themselves inspired to change.”

Leaders should wake up everyday thinking, “What steps can I take today to get me to where I want to go?”  What changes can you make?  How can you bring these quotes into reality?  In your everyday grind, when you’re sweating, when your working, when your raising your kids, living the real life, you can’t live on quotes.  But when you get tired and your vision begins to wain, you have mental block, and you face a little depression, then I say break out the quotes.  Do not let quotes give you just a good feeling, but let them be the reps that builds your strength, to help you carry on.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Inspirations

Every morning when I wake up I go into my sons bedroom and pick him up to take him to lay with his mother.  I do this for two purposes:  The first, is so my wife doesn’t have to wake up to go get him when he starts crying, so she can sleep in a little.  The second reason, is to hold him and kiss him, and to feel my inspiration.  He is my inspiration!

My wife and I could live on next to nothing cause we know how to survive.  We have eaten a lot of sandwiches and Vienna Sausages! LOL!  But when my son came along, inspiration hit me right in the heart.  I have a helpless beautiful angel that needs me to succeed and provide him the best opportunities that I possibly can.

When I need some inspiration, I unlock my phone and look at the hundred of pictures of my little man and it reminds me why I work a full time job, strive as a manager, and go to college full time to get a business management degree.  He has been to church ever since he was two days old.  I strive to be a christian and lead by example in front of my son.  Deliver messages that will hopefully get to his heart one day.

I see those pictures and it inspires me, it moves me, it changes me, it raises me, it creates hunger, drive, it’s a true deep inspiration.  Not superficial, not selfish, not temporal.  I want to leave a legacy and that’s what makes me want to be the best leader I can be.

Now, that’s what drives me, what drives you?  What inspires you?  Take a picture of it hang it up and let it raise you to new heights and burn  a blazing fire inside you!

So, when you wake up in the mornings and you feel the need to lay out of work, to not do your best, to relax or let up, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!  BE THE INSPIRED LEADER.

“Eye” Dare You!!!

Let us dig a little deeper into the anatomy of a leader. We will look at the eyes or rather look through the eyes of a leader!  “Eye” dare you to adjust your vision, broaden your scope, and look through the lenses of a true leader!

We find ourselves in a generation “of the blind leading the blind.”  Wandering around aimlessly, bumping into every opportunity, but never seizing upon the gift of success that was handed to them and their teams.  I want to pose three different ideas to help you clear up your vision.

Get Your Reading Glasses On

Never forget this, “Leaders are readers!”  Now, there are many things we can read. Libraries, magazine racks, and the Internet are stocked  full of goodness for us to indulge our inquisitive minds in.  But remember, you have to be reading the right stuff.

I ask you, “What are you passionate about?  What is it that you desire to do, or what field do you want to go into?”  Find every available material to consume and become an expert in your field of study.

Sales?  Customer service?  Automotive?  Entrepreneurship?  Pastoral?  Hair stylist?  Anything that gives you the information to help you stand apart from your competition, gives you the advantage to becoming successful.

A readership crisis is really a leadership crisis.  – Michael Hyatt

The more you read, the more you learn.  The more you learn, you develop the ability to maximize your skills to their highest potential.  When you accomplish that, you get noticed, recognized, and you become an industry authority.  In other words, the “go-to person” in your field.

What Do You See Right Now?

Reading, learning, educating, describes the process and the in and outs of your particular passion.  That includes YouTube videos and websites that can give you another outlet to learn.  Sometimes that means taking courses and going to college to get a certificate if need be.  I don’t know about you but I want a nurse that has gone through school and has a nice diploma showing that she satisfies the states requirements, to legally practice her profession.

So, you want to be a leader?  Awesome!  Now study!  Do the little things now to make a big impact on your future.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu

One of my personal motto’s this year is, “embrace the grind.”  Most people don’t want to do the hard part to get to the easy part.  Look at the hear and now, and determine on what you need to do to make you a success.  Leaders understand the power of the present.  Seizing opportunities and creating discipline in their lives that will affect them positively down the road!

That’s why you need to create a “dream board.”  Get you a pin board to hang on your wall in a prominent spot.  Pin a picture of what it is you ultimately want.  Then put underneath it or put it at the center with strings stretching from the center to another picture that describes a step that you’re going to take everyday that is going to help you reach your goal.  Keep it in  front of you so you can see it!

Remember, the first step is the most important step!

Look to The Stars

Peering through a microscope gives you the details, gazing through a telescope gives you inspiration.  We need daily inspiration to help us maintain the drive and vigor needed to get us through the hard times.  Inspiration will do a few things for you:

  • Help prevent burnout or at least get over it-  Burnout affects everyone and in order to keep from getting in a rut, you need inspiration.  My inspiration is my family’s future. I keep that in mind when I get weary and tired and it helps me to “embrace the grind.”
  • It keeps you evolving- Look at the NASA program.  At one time people were looking with their own eyes at the moon with wonder.  Then the inspiration came to peer closer, so they built a telescope.  They were so inspired that eventually they built machines that gave man the ability to put earthly boot prints on the surface of the moon.  When you can see your future and what it is you want you will keep changing and adjusting your attitude and mentality of the here and now.
  • You give inspiration to others- “Hey come over here and look at this!”  When others see you looking through the telescope they get curious.  You get excited because you give them the opportunity to see the splendor of what it is your looking at.  After all what is a true leader?  A leader that creates other leaders!

One person said that, “Inspiration is better caught, than taught!”

“Eye” dare you to lead!  “Eye” dare you to make it happen!  Become top of your field!  Shine bright, stand out, help others get to where they are going, and I promise that the leader within you will break out like Clark Kent.

-Dustin L. Carr

Feel free to make a comment and like my Facebook page, http://www.thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take The Quiz…I Dare You!

Before you take this quiz, consider these few thoughts I’m having:

  • What is a leader?  Answer:  A person of influence

Don’t make a leader to mean some millionaire business mogul.  A leader can be                      anyone, and since your more than likely a leader in some form or fashion, do you not            desire to be the best person of influence you can be?

  • What cause can I take up?  Answer:  Any cause!  Do you want to raise your children up to be the most successful person they can be?  Do you want to lead your congregation to fulfill their greatest potential?  Do you not desire to be the best teacher you can be?  What about your company?  Do you want your employees and business to scale heights they have never ascended before?
  • What motivates you?  You will have to answer that for yourself.  But, I challenge you to find something worth fighting for!  Worth changing for!  Worth growing for! And take it on as if you’re charging Hell with a water pistol!

OK, here is your quiz, and be honest with yourself.

  1. Are you a true leader?  Y/N
  2. Do you desire to grow others?  Y/N
  3. What’s your goals: Short term goals, 1 year from now, 10 years from now, 30 years from now
  4. Do you have plans to meet those goals?  Y/N (Write them down under your goals, be specific as possible)
  5. How’s your network of friends?  Short Answer
  6. Is your priorities in line?  Short Answer
  7. What risk have you taken lately to further yourself?  Short Answer
  8. What book/classes have you read/taken lately to educate/motivate yourself?  Short Answer
  9. Do you wish to make a difference?  (Y/N)
  10. Are you willing to be different?  (Y/N)

Write these down in your journal and be brutal, analyze, and pray.  Ask others or your spouse to be honest with you.  Please comment on my page or email me.  Would love to hear your goals and your desire to be a leader.

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.
-Ray Croc

Dustin Carr   http://www.thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com