“I know that your powers of retention are as wet as a warthog’s backside.” That is Scar’s opening line in the Lion King’s ‘Be Prepared’ song and I have always found it amusing that in spite of how daft he thought the hyenas were, he was confident in his ability as a leader to utilise their somewhat lacking skills, build them up and take over the Pride.
The fundamental flaw he had was the fact that he thought his team, the hyenas, were nothing more than dim-witted, thick brained fools.
They did not disappoint him in that regard. In the end, he made such a mess of the Pride that everyone hated him and the hyenas ended up killing him (actually, they ate him up) when they realised how little he thought of them and the fact the he actually had the audacity to blame them for the coup and destruction of the Pride.
People rise up to our expectations of them and it is folly to associate with people we think lowly of.
Not only is it bad for achieving a great and unified purpose as a team, but it demoralises the very people that look up to us and strains relationships.
What happens if you have a team of fools thrust upon you? How do you change them and improve creativity/ productivity?
The answer is simple: change you and your haughtiness.
There are a number of practical ways to do this and I shall give you three nuggets:
1. As a leader, pin point what a team member excels in and hone in on that.
I had a Project Manager on my team who I felt was absolutely useless when it came to creating forecasts for his project. He was consistently over budget (3 months in a row) and I was getting exasperated.
Surely, common mathematics and parametrics is not such a big deal. Then it hit me, I was the problem! I expected him to go over budget and he never disappointed me.
I had an informal session with him and I realised his strength in timely delivering exactly what the business required, he was top notch on this.
We focused on this skill and ‘magically’ he got better at forecasting what it would take to deliver his projects. I say magically because I really can’t explain how that happened, all I know is I changed my demoralising opinion about him and he suddenly was eager to improve his project finances.
2. Have a checklist of the individual strengths of your team
Write down on paper (or on your device if you are a techie) the name of each member on your team and their top three strengths. Go on, do it.
Even the one you think is so hopeless has a strength (I think that strength is patience…after all they are putting up with your stupidly demeaning attitude or thoughts about them).
This channels your subconscious into seeing the best in them and that speaks volumes to their own subconscious.
3. Publicly exalt team members when they accomplish set tasks.
It is relatively easy to fuss about what has gone wrong or how an individual should improve.
On the other hand, when people are praised publicly for the seemingly tiniest thing, it inspires them to do much more.
Better yet, say great things about them behind their back (trust me, people love it when others tell them something good that you have said about them).
In other news, today is Temilola Mo’ Craig’s birthday! Yay! My darling friend in whom I am well pleased.
We’ve known each other since secondary school (where she threatened to report me to school authorities because I had home cooked meals sent to me…it was a boarding school and home cooked meals were prohibited).
Now she is a grown woman, I have forgiven her for her past sins and watch with pride how much she has grown, how intelligent she is and what the future holds. My prayer for you is this: “Ki Oluwa ki o busi i fun ẹ̀, ki o si pa ẹ̀ mọ́. Ki Oluwa ki o mu oju rẹ̀ mọlẹ si ẹ̀ lara, ki o si ṣãnu fun ẹ̀”. Amin.
Have a fab day people!