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Every person on your team will have a different temperament. No “ONE” person is exactly the same. You will be in charge of getting everyone to their destination, and you need to make sure they feel valued along the way. This article discusses how we lead others by making them know that we are blown away that they have chosen us as leaders.

It’s not just what you are responsible for. It’s who you are responsible for.

It’s not about being in charge. It’s about the people in your charge. At least that’s what Simon Sinek says, and I wholeheartedly subscribe to that.

It would be best if you made them feel valued and believed throughout the process. This way, they believe that this is their decision instead of yours.

It’s their decision. Everyday. They decided to be on your team, not the other way around. The only thing people will remember about you is how you made them feel.

It’s their decision. Everyday. They decided to be on your team, not the other way around. The only thing people will remember about you is how you made them feel. Click To Tweet

I have been on teams and have experienced various levels of being stuck. I was a pastor in a megachurch. I was in a high level of leadership. I’ve heard it said that it can be lonely in upper leadership. It’s true. I loved my team generously, but I felt stuck. I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be in this role for a long time, but I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t feel like I had options, and I certainly didn’t feel like I “chose” to be there. Please note, I am using the word “feelings” here intentionally. There was nothing that my leadership team did intentionally that made me feel stuck. I was a caught up in my own psychology. It affected my emotional and spiritual health, and I didn’t know I could leave. I didn’t think I had anything else to contribute.

The things we hear are the things we think about. The things we think about influence what we feel. What we feel influences the decisions we make.

The things we hear are the things we think about. The things we think about influence what we feel. What we feel influences the decisions we make. Click To Tweet

I felt stuck. I didn’t know I could leave. When I left, it was the scariest and most painful experience I’ve ever experienced in my life. Do I regret leaving? No.

(I have been coaching leaders of all scopes for over a decade. I always tell people, you don’t choose to coach…coaching chooses you. I had no idea that I would get to collaborate with major global brands, executive teams, entrepreneurs, pastors, teams and creatives. Everyone deserves the opportunity to experience hope. I am beyond humbled and honored that I get to do this.)

Do I wish I would’ve left differently? Absolutely. I stayed too long and that decision cost a lot.

Then I encountered the “in-between.”

As I was finishing up my master’s degree (a completely different story), I dove into a season of selling cars. In my third month on the job, I was salesman of the month. I was kind of embarrassed that this is where I landed, but also proud at the same time. I was doing well. Funny story, I took a picture of my name, as it appeared in all its glorious splendor on the dealership’s front door. Michael King- Salesman of the Month. I’ve never had my name on a door before and don’t anticipate that I ever will again. Maybe I should frame that picture!

By month 6, I was promoted to finance manager and onboarding director. I was learning the inner workings of the business office and developing systems and structures to create a great work experience. I was moonlighting as a coach with a handful of clients, and I was getting “schooled” on figuring out how to make sure people felt valued.

I have a newfound respect for car sales professionals. The hours are horrible, and the culture can be rough. I had the privilege of working for and with some dynamic leaders. Man, these guys were champions. In this culture, it’s way too easy to become a number and can be eliminated quickly if need be. I was, and still am, 100% committed to helping that industry innovate and churn out leaders for future impact. Technology is changing this industry. People power and resources should be the engine that defines the culture. Not just cars. More on that later…

Some team members felt like they didn’t have any options. They felt stuck. So I made it a priority to make sure that every team member knew that they were a priority. They knew I was grateful to have them on my team. Their performance consistently improved—every single one of them.

It’s a power play. Leaders who try to intimidate their employees into performing better are only hurting their credibility in the long run. And here’s the worst part…the team member has every right to BE AFRAID.

I’ve fallen into this trap of being this type of leader. I made some tweaks to my approach and perspective over the years to make sure that never happens again. Here’s a simple checklist to do a “self-audit” to make sure you are championing the right things.

• Celebrate EVERY WIN. This IMMEDIATELY lets your team know that you see the bigger picture, and it builds on the things that are going right, not the things that are going wrong.

• Don’t obsess over obstacles and failures. Look at root causes and learn from them. Obsessing over failures only creates a culture of fear regarding “owning up” to mistakes.

• Be transparent with your intention AND convictions. No team member likes trying to interpret the silence. Lead with clarity. To be clear is to be kind.

• Talk openly about the future. This isn’t an “only say nice things” article. This is a “communicate value” article. Commit to regularly communicating with your team member on how they are performing and what you are willing to do to make sure they win. Sometimes “winning” means you will help them get to a different seat on the bus or a different bus altogether.

The team chooses you. You don’t choose them.

It is your responsibility to get your team members on board! They need to feel valued right from the start of any new endeavor or initiative. They need to KNOW they they are a part of what you are doing, not just going along for the ride. It’s not about who has control…it’s about who you have cared for.

You will need to earn their trust to lead, but if you do this well, then they will believe in this journey with all their heart because they know that it is THEIR JOURNEY as much as yours! They know that YOU BELIEVE IN THEM ENOUGH TO TAKE THE RISK!

5 comments
  1. Great article Michael!

    “The things we hear are the things we think about. The things we think about influence what we feel. What we feel influences the decisions we make.”

    So well said!

  2. Great article Michael!

    “The things we hear are the things we think about. The things we think about influence what we feel. What we feel influences the decisions we make.”

    So well said!

  3. Wow! This is so good Mike! On so many levels it speaks. Stuck, Feelings, Leave, I didn’t know I could… just a few of your phrases that stick out to me!

    Thanks for you Authenticity, Transparency, and Vulnerability. I needed this today!

    Thank you Friend!

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