In the late 1800s, in a brick building in New Jersey, America, Thomas Edison formed a dream team to invent, as Thomas put it, “useful things every man, woman, and child in the world wants…. at a price they can afford to pay.”
Thomas’ team was a diverse one – consisting of an English machinist, a Swiss clockmaker, a German glassblower, and a Princeton trained mathematician and he was able to create such a unified and harmonious team, despite their different nationalities, personalities, and skills, to tap into their unique abilities to bring his visions to life.
His team is quoted as saying that their work was “strenuous but joyous” despite the long hours they worked and the low pay they received (in the early days), because of the culture and team environment that Thomas cultivated as the leader.
Thomas and his team went on to develop many products that dramatically changed the way we live and work including the long-lasting light bulb, the motion picture camera, sound recording, and a system of electric power generation and distribution to name a few. They were a legendary team and are one of many examples of what can be achieved when there are unity and harmony within the team you lead.
You can have the best ideas or products to take to market, but without unity and harmony within your team, you’ll fall well short of your potential. But sometimes, unity and harmony can seem like only a fairy tale.
There are many strategies you can employ to create and develop lasting unity and harmony within your team, and in the last blog, I covered the value of knowing the personality profiles within your team (click here to check it out). Today, I’m talking about the importance of making tough decisions in a timely manner.
It’s essential that as leaders, we don’t procrastinate on decisions, as to do so can have devastating effects on the unity and harmony of your team and ultimately, its performance.
Here’s what I mean. Take for example you employed a close friend in a senior management role in your business. However, after several months, it was apparent that they weren’t the right fit – they were struggling in the role and causing angst and confusion in the team by their manner and what would seem, lack of people skills. You even once caught a re-enactment at a gathering at the pub of your friends’ management style. Not good.
What do you do? It’s hard to have that discussion with your friend and make a plan to move forward, but the longer you don’t do anything, the worse the problem becomes, and your team can start to unravel at the seams. The team’s performance will most likely suffer, and you could lose key people from your team due to the disunity and disharmony this person is creating. Leadership isn’t easy but it’s your job to make the tough decisions for the good of the business and its long-term success.
What are the tough decisions you need to make right now?
Are you procrastinating?
If yes, why?
Some advice I’ve been given in the past from a wise mentor was that:
You often learn what the right decisions are by sometimes making the wrong ones. It’s better to have made a decision than to not have made one at all.
And I’ve always found this to be true.
The longer you procrastinate, not only does the problem worsen by the day, your influence as a leader suffers as your team witnesses you doing nothing about the problem, which causes further disunity and disharmony.
3 Strategies for Helping You Make Tough Decisions.
1. Ask an independent and wise 3rd party or ask your mentor.
Leadership can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. As a leader, you need to make the decisions, but you don’t need to make tough decisions by yourself. Every wise and successful leader I know always seeks counsel, and they all have mentors with whom they meet regularly. I’m also led by a mentor. I would 100% not be where I am today with them.
Do you seek counsel from a 3rd party?
Who could you ask?
2. Brainstorm the decision with key people involved, if appropriate.
Sometimes it’s helpful to brainstorm the decision with your key people who will be affected by the decision, e.g. closing an office down, or implementing a new system – weighing up the pros and cons, and making the decision as a team. Though you as the leader need to lead this process and ultimately you’ll need to make the final call. By involving your people, you help them understand and hopefully buy into the decision, building unity and harmony.
Do you consult others in your team for advice? Are you open to their ideas?
3. Back yourself to make the right decision.
Sometimes, you just need to make a fast decision on the spot to keep things moving and flowing. Have the guts to make the call. You’ve got this.
U.S President Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing to do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Sound advice from President Roosevelt.
Do you back yourself and your ability to make the right decisions?
If not, what do you need to do to change this? E.g. a training course, seek advice, stop listening to negative people, associate with positive people who support you, remind yourself of, and focus on your strengths and abilities, get a mentor.
I really hope today’s blog has stimulated and agitated your thinking to help you promote and foster unity and harmony within your team so you can lead your team to achieve something really amazing, like Thomas Edison and his team.
If you have any questions on this, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care and keep climbing,
Here’s the link to Part 1 of this blog series.
If you’d like to learn more about my strategies for creating unity and harmony, we’ve just launched our new LEADING4GROWTH ONLINE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. In it, I go into great depth about how to create unity and harmony within the team you lead, and much more. Click here for more information.