Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the first Manchester United manager to win his first six games, overtaking the legendary Sir Matt Busby who previously held the record for the best start for his five consecutive wins at the start of the 1946-47 season. The Norwegian has lifted the gloom over Old Trafford, recaptured the spirit of Manchester United, and brought the best out of several players.
If you are leading a team – be it a group of coworkers or a sports team, a church gathering or your family dinner table – think about what message your choices send. Are you encouraging equality in speaking, or rewarding the loudest people? Are you demonstrating a sensitivity to what people think and feel or are you letting decisive leadership be an excuse for not paying as close attention as you should?
As a team leader, I feel it’s important to give people control. But that works only when people feel like they can trust one another.
Getting a team into balance doesn’t occur once. It requires perpetual work. I feel I am always re-tuning things – although, once in a while, I have to do more than a simple brake adjustment and oil change. We needed to change with the times, so we did.
Every member of the team has got to understand that they are part of a jigsaw puzzle. Each team member has to understand the qualities and strengths of their team-mates, because everybody has off-days.
Obviously I find it easier to get on with some team members rather than others, but I never allow that to cloud my judgement about what was best for the team. I just think a leader has to keep reminding himself to be clinical about these sorts of judgements.
Another thing I have to look out for are character clashes. If people are so selfish that they are only thinking about themselves, it just doesn’t work. When people start butting heads, it destroys a team.
Studies show that employees with a best friend at work tend to be more focused, more passionate and more loyal to their organizations. They get sick less often and change jobs less frequently. They even have more satisfied customers. A results of a joint study by management professors at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota was definite: Friends outperformed acquaintances. The reason? Friends were more committed at the start of the project, showed better communication while doing the activity and offered teammates positive encouragement every step of the way. They also evaluated ideas more critically and gave one another feedback when they were off course.
Workplace friendships yield more productive employees because a poor effort means letting down your friends. The social pressure to do a good job is a stronger motivator than anything a boss can say. When our coworkers are our friends, it suddenly become harder to leave. Often it’s our loyalty to our colleagues that keeps us from accepting higher salaries and better titles somewhere else.
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