How to Focus the Team and Know Where to Be

Two big keys to success in leading a team are to make sure everyone is on the same wavelength, and be in a position to control the action.  In this two minute tip I’m going to show you a team trying to solve a problem, and talk about how what the leader is doing right in these two areas.  You can use these same approaches when leading your own team.

The Leadership Reaction Course

One fun way to practice a little leadership and learn about teamwork at the same time is what the military calls the Leader Reaction Course.  A small group is given a task to accomplish and an obstacle or two in their way.  One person is designated the leader.

In this recent example this group has to get all its people and a cargo box from one side of the enclosure to the other without touching the ground or anything painted red.  They have a platform to start from, and several ropes suspended across the area.

Like most groups with a problem like this, there was considerable discussion about how to accomplish the task, with several good ideas from different team members.  That part is good – you want to get input and suggestions about what to do.

Focus the Team

But with the clock ticking, at some point there has to be some action.  I want you to watch this guy – he’s the designated leader.  To get the team moving and organized, he’s going to get everyone’s attention and set out the vision for how they will accomplish the task.

So he’s clearly stated what the group is trying to do, and then has started assigning tasks to his different team members.  Let’s see how it works out…

As the plan unfolds, he has teammates move out and act as a bridge across the ropes; once everyone is in place the plan is to pass the cargo box down the line, then have everyone crawl across.

As you can see, it wasn’t easy, but getting everyone on the same page and working together helped the team be successful.  As the leader, that has to be your focus.

Position the Leader

The other thing to notice here – the leader is where he can best control the action – not out on the ropes, but at the key point of the problem, controlling the movement of people and things to ensure they go as planned.

As a leader you always want to position yourself where you can best direct the efforts of your team; often that means not getting committed to any particular task, but being where you can make sure the most important tasks is successful.

The Takeaway

As you can see, the team is going to accomplish its task, and two of the keys to their success are sharing a common vision and the leader in a position to control the action.

When you take charge of your team keep these two tips in mind to help you and your team be successful too.

And that’s your RapidStart Leadership Two-minute Tip.

Many thanks to Marine Military Academy for permission to use Leadership Reaction Course footage.

If you are looking for more Two-Minute Leadership Tips, you can go here.  And if you liked this post, be sure to sign up now for twice-monthly Leadership Updates with more tips and exclusive content not available elsewhere on the site!

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About the Author: Ken Downer
Ken Downer - Founder RapidStart Leadership

Ken served for 26 years in the Infantry, retiring as a Colonel.  From leading patrols in the Korean DMZ, to parachuting into the jungles of Panama, to commanding a remote outpost on the Iran-Iraq border, he has learned a lot about leadership, and has a passion for sharing that knowledge with others.  Look for his weekly posts, check out his online courses, subscribe below, or simply connect, he loves to talk about this stuff.

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