Thursday, June 29, 2006

Team Excellence: Leadership and Selflessness

Interesting article in this weeks Knowledge at Wharton on-line newsletter. While many of the article aren't about team leadership, I recommend the weekly newsletter to anyone who enjoys reading about business excellence. I am especially fond of the school after it published my favorite book on leadership and management.

The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit By Giving Workers What They Want is a must-read (own) for anyone who wants to create a great employment experience for themselves and their employees.

Having reached the summit of Mt. Everest five times, Breashears knows what he wants in a team. Surprisingly, he's not necessarily looking for the best climbers. "I look for talented people who believe in their craft, not those who are looking for praise," he said. "The most important quality is selflessness. I knew that no matter what, no one would leave me behind," he joked.

Sharing a common goal and vision is critical, and no one's ego can take precedence. "People who say 'me first' can be dangerous on Everest." Indeed, in Breashears' experience, the teams that operate best have a higher objective than themselves. Humility makes a great leader. "The kind of leader I want wakes up and asks, 'What did I do wrong yesterday, and how can I fix it today?' Your team doesn't need to like you, but they have to trust and respect you," he said. "A leader who puts his interests first is a highly demoralizing force."

Breashear makes a number of accurate statements about teams, leadership, and character, but few businesses have the ability to create teams that "have a higher objective than themselves."

No comments: