The 3 Gs: How to be a strong leader and a team player

Keys to knowing when to lead, when to follow and when to get out of the way

You see it in meetings, unfortunately, all the time: A conference room full of good, strong leaders who all think they know what's best yet can't agree on a thing.

If one excellent leader is good - meets goals, motivates his team, produces results - shouldn't a team of outstanding performers be even better?

If you saw the first 75% of The Avengers movie, you know the answer to that.

Author and leadership expert Peter Bregman says strong leaders don't always work well together because many are laser-focused on their department's goals and performance. Period.

However, he notes strong leaders can become an effective team by cultivating three traits:

Gifted: Leaders need to learn how to share and adapt their strengths in a team setting.

"They need to be gifted communicators and gifted learners, mastering conflict without being offensive, and adapting to their own changing roles as the organization grows," Bregman writes.

Game: The key to being game and taking risks is confidence, he notes: "To be vulnerable and open to challenge and criticism, they need to be willing to consider anything. This requires a tremendous amount of confidence."

To work well in a team setting, leaders also need to be open to being questioned and challenged without feeling threatened or becoming defensive.

Generous: When working in a group, confident leaders need to know when to step back and follow, putting what's best for the team above what's best for their ego or stake in a project. "They must be good-hearted, mutually respectful, and gracious, resisting the urge to dominate, take the upper hand, or shine at the expense of others," Bregman says.

via Harvard Business Review

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