Many leaders, including me, have found themselves in the trap of leading a team. It is normal, isn’t it? Where is the catch? The catch is when many leaders, especially new ones, start to manage or lead their teams. They do it with so much enthusiasm, willingness and effort. They work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, to improve their self-competencies and competencies of their teams. So, what’s happening?

Let me share my experience in “early leading days” with you. I was so engaged, full of energy and willingness to develop myself and my team. I work so hard, 16 hours per day, stay in the shop, share knowledge with my team members and learn from them. I’ve made many incentives, tried to motivate and engage my team. I’ve felt like a big leader. Even worse, my immediate manager also thought that I was doing a good job. I was so visible in the organization and was recognized as a really good leader and even management recognized me that way. But … one piece was missing.

Guess what, it was my team. My team was with me all the time. My team supported me all the time. But they’ve followed me because they had to. I thought that they understood me, my efforts and the time I spent with them. But, they weren’t prepared for such amount of changes. They simply couldn’t follow me anymore. But, at that moment, I didn’t notice that fact. Full of enthusiasm, I’ve continued to lead my team, do another incentive, another initiative …

Luckily,  my team had established an open communication among team members. One of them told me that they could not understand me anymore. Why did they have to change so many things? Why was I so dissatisfied with their performance and always wanted more and more from them?

At that moment, I realized one thing: They’ve been listening to me, but I haven’t been listening to them. I have just been walking toward my goal and never lost my focus, but almost lost my team. With only a few workshops, we improved goal setting, especially follow up for our activities. I’ve adjusted the speed of change to the level of team’s ability to adopt. And you know what? The results were even better!

If you are reading this, wake up! Open your eyes and take a deep breath. Turn around slowly and look if there is someone standing behind you. Or are you alone? Don’t lose your team. If you don’t lead anyone, you will go nowhere.

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