Leading a team should promote the continuance and growth of the team, in other words, scalability. The mission or purpose of the team in this case is long term, with a desire to see its continuance beyond a project with a specific completion date. However, even in the case of project-focused leadership, having a continuity plan where the project continues in spite of the leader becoming suddenly unavailable is critical to the successful completion of the project.
How can we replicate ourselves as leaders in a way that fulfilling the mission of the team continues beyond our involvement? How can we grow the leadership base to expand the influence of the mission overall?
Span of Effectiveness
Leaders can effectively lead and support anywhere from six to twelve followers. As the team grows beyond this point, intermediate leaders are necessary to have in place in order to provide personal guidance and support within the organization. These intermediate leaders must then add another layer of leaders as the organization grows (or in order to grow the organization).
Pouring into ones direct team is time consuming. It requires tremendous effort. This cascading leadership structure of a team provides opportunities for leaders to develop at various levels of responsibility within the team.
Qualities of leadership activities that will produce a growing and scalable team include being intentional, integral, and inspirational.
Continually looking for opportunities to share, expand, and promote the missional aspects of the team is something that cannot happen by accident, but must be intentional. Training and mentoring followers to pick up a leadership role at some level insures there is no sole reliance upon any one individual leader. An intentional approach also becomes self-fulfilling since the mission of the team is top-of-mind in the leader and the continuously growing population of intermediate leaders and followers.
Activities of a leader are to be focused on fulfilling the mission of the team in such a way that they are woven into the fabric of the organization. It becomes a way of life that is shared with the followers. Connecting the dots of understanding how activities support the fulfillment of the mission is necessary for followers to make sustainable commitments to the team. Also understanding how certain activities can be detrimental to the mission is important to successfully accomplishing the team’s objectives.
The mission and purpose of the team should inspire people to stretch beyond what any one person can accomplish. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The mission of the team should be sustainable, withstanding the test of time and scrutiny of rational thinking. It should be grounded in reality.
There is such a strong belief in the mission the leader cannot help but be excited and motivated. The leader must understand and live out the mission and purpose of the team on a daily basis. This way of living and leading is contagious and inspires followers to go beyond self-imposed limitations.
Fulfilling the Mission
These qualities should be promulgated throughout all levels of the team. Constantly asking the question of oneself as a leader, and of your followers, drives the fulfillment of the mission in a lively and dynamic way.
How is what you do as a leader furthering the growth and expansion of your team and its mission?