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Leadership and the art of getting things done: How to get more from your team

Too often, the goals and projects that can really lead organizations forward receive insufficient attention and thus experience minimal progress. Why is this? One big reason is a lack of time, but that’s a weak excuse. If the project is important you will find the time to invest in it. Another big reason: sometimes the large, ambitious goals seem unattainable and unrealistic.

Leaders are responsible for steering the organization forward to new heights. It’s your job to make the unattainable become attainable. You need to inspire your team into action and deliver results. Here’s how.

Focus on manageable, actionable steps

Imagine a large pie of pizza. If you weren’t allowed to divide it into slices, what would your approach be? How would you eat the pizza? It’s a lot simpler when you’re able to cut it into 8 smaller pieces! The same is true for large, ambitious projects.

A goal to jump from $500,000 in revenue to $2,000,000 in revenue needs to be broken down into manageable, actionable steps. What increase in revenue is needed each month or quarter to reach the end of year goal?  How many leads/calls/appointments are needed each week?


Large projects and ambitious goals are not achieved over night. It’s a long process with ups and downs and frequent obstacles. Successful leaders help their team work through the many obstacles and challenges and use them as opportunities. Leaders need to inspire and motivate their team. To do this, you should constantly remind your team what achieving the goal would mean for the company. What are the rewards? What does the company plan to do after? Take it a step further and communicate to your team what achieving the end goal will mean for them. What are the rewards for them? How will it make their job better or easier? The key is to visualize the rewards and make them feel real.


You and your team need an undefeatable, uncompromising, absolute belief that you are going to achieve the end goal. Anything short of this will not suffice. Be conscious of your own thoughts, actions and behaviors and make sure they are consistent with this notion.

The takeaway

As a leader your job is clear. Make sure your team clearly understands why the goal is important, including any rewards that will come from it. This helps keep them engaged and motivated. Also, give them something they can chew. Break down the large ambitious idea or project into bite size pieces. This helps keep focus on the goal and ensures you and your team are continuously progressing towards the end goal.

Leadership best practices: Modeling the behavior you want from your team

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to establish organizational culture. You have the opportunity to model the behavior you want from your team. How do you want your team to respond to challenges and delays in achieving success? Take some time to really think this through. Also, take a step back and honestly assess your own behavior when faced with similar situations. Do your actions align with how you want your team to respond to obstacles and setbacks? Below are 5 behaviors you should always practice as a leader.

1.) Always maintain a positive attitude and outlook

How do you respond to client complaints or even something more troublesome such as losing a client? It’s natural to get a little frustrated and discouraged in such situations. The key is to not let your emotions get the best of you. It’s imperative that you maintain a positive attitude and outlook no matter how dire the circumstance. Challenging situations and setbacks require action. There is no time to sit around and feel sorry for yourself. Remember, your team is watching how you respond so it’s a good idea to ask yourself how you would want them to act and then model that behavior. Here are some good guidelines to follow.

  • Acknowledge there is an issue and identify the cause
  • Make a plan for resolving the issue and figure out how much time is needed
  • Decide who is going to take care of it
  • Take action or delegate

2.) Focusing on what you can control

In life and in business there are many things outside of our control. The stock market could crash or your most important employee could win the lottery, leave the company and move to Hawaii. It doesn’t make sense to preoccupy yourself and spend too much time thinking about such things.

There are also things we can influence and things we can control. Your top performing employee could leave at any moment and join another company. Of course, you can’t control what they do but you can influence them by doing what you can to make their current situation as attractive as possible. That is something you can control.

You want your team to focus on what they can control.

3.) Perseverance and GRIT

Perseverance is defined as, “Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” According to many, possessing this single trait is a key predictor of success or lack thereof. Undoubtedly, you are going to experience setbacks in whatever you do as great achievements are not accomplished overnight. Remember this when things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like or expected. Remember and remind yourself and your team that perseverance is a key element of success. Take pride in your ability to continue pushing forward in the face of difficulties and acknowledge that you are one step closer to achieving what you set out to do.

4.) Remaining cool, calm and collected under pressure

Good leaders stay cool, calm and collected when things don’t go according to plan. Think about Bill Belichick and the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Coach Belichick is known for his calm demeanor on the sidelines. He rarely shows emotion, good or bad. Down 10 heading into the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl, there was Belichick, calm as ever on the sideline. His team demonstrated similar poise, rallying from behind to win their 4th title under the coach.

How do you respond to pressure? Better yet, how would your team say you respond to pressure?

5.) Work ethic

Your commitment, how hard you work, and how many hours you put in are certainly things you can control! They’re also things your team is aware of. If you’re coming in late, leaving early, and taking extended breaks, eventually they will begin to do the same. If you work unreasonably long hours, this can intimidate and discourage your team. The key for showing commitment is dependability, conscientiousness, paying attention to the development of others – employees as well as employees/co-workers – and also ensuring you have time for yourself and your own development. If you want your team to be committed then you need to be too. That’s easy!

The takeaway

As a leader, you have the power to create the organizational culture that will allow your company to thrive. All you have to do is model the behavior you want from your team. In order to do this you need to define what type of culture you want to create. How do you want your team to act? You also need to honestly assess your own attitudes, actions and behaviors. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done as we often have a misperception about ourselves. Personal assessments are a great option to help you gain a greater awareness about yourself.

Your team watches and adopts some of your behaviors. What are you willing to do to make sure you are modeling the behavior you want from your team?