Throughout my tenure at aytm I went from being a one-person team to managing a team of several incredible people. Through this experience I learned to persevere, to be humble, to see the future in others, and to empower individuals using building blocks of core ethics needed for success.
Building and managing a team is not only about assessing and honing skill sets, but also a constant interaction of inspiring, listening, learning, teaching, caring, assessing, refining, and applying. Mind you, this is a multi-direction, multi-faceted approach that takes self-discipline. Trust, communication, transparency, humility, responsibility, vision, and perseverance are very important character traits needed for success. I’ve learned that even while I was mentoring others, I was being mentored as well by surrounding myself with individuals based on those very traits.
To inspire tomorrow’s leaders is to add passion to purpose. There’s uniqueness in each person you lead—learn what drives them, what inspires them, and what brings them joy. Individuals are motivated in different ways, and to be an effective leader you must recognize and utilize motivating factors to produce successful outcomes, increased productivity, and improve overall happiness.
To learn, you must first listen
One of the most important assets a leader can have is the ability to listen quietly; it’s the very core of communication and learning that is crucial in any relationship—it builds a foundation of trust. Always be open to hear the good and the bad. You should not only listen, but clarify what you’ve heard back to the person to ensure what you hear is what they are communicating. Miscommunication helps no one and clarity is king.
Teach beyond the basics
I’m a huge proponent of team mentoring. Set the foundation, teach the basics, and then draw from everyone on your team to mentor new team members one on one. This sets an atmosphere of diversity in learning and allows building team dynamics and relationships. Team harmony is crucial, I can’t stress that enough.
Be an agent of change
Be an agent of change—not fearful of it. Being in a position of leadership doesn’t mean you have all the answers; I hire people smarter than me for that very reason. Be open to trying new ideas and encourage creative strategic thinking within your team.
Lead by example
“Actions speak louder than words.” “Practice what you preach.” Be vulnerable; you’ll make mistakes, and your team will watch how you react to your mistakes and how you react to the mistakes of others. Model the behavior you want to see in others; be proactive, not reactive; think through responses before you act or speak. I have made many mistakes along the way but in learning to take responsibility and ownership of them I was able to diffuse situations and show emotional maturity. Eyes are on you.
Ensure the health of those you lead by continually assessing your team’s capacity. Be close enough to recognize when individuals are stressed. Be on top of bandwidth. Advocate and plan for growth before it becomes a problem. Being tuned into the well-being of your team will lead to an overall healthier and happier team, lessen turnover, and improve performance.
How does this relate to the client relationship?
This client/partnership relationship should begin with a solid foundation, it’s not simply about the deliverables. It’s the experience from beginning to end; the people you engage with, and the trust built during that process. If our company’s leadership encompasses an empathetic attitude inward, leads with listening, truth, and solid communication—this will extend to the client relationship organically.
Abundance mindset at aytm
I will end with this: Leadership is work in progress—ask your team “what can I do better?” Seek positive progression in leadership and life, be open to fail—for learning is constant. “No man is an island.” Without our team, I would not have earned the success I have thus far—they are not just a part of it but the reason for it.
Here at aytm, we believe in an abundance mindset because it is instilled in us from day one from our senior leadership, training, and our daily communications. Because it is one of our Core Values, we are encouraged to be generous with our time, love, attention and energy not only with those around us, clients and team alike but for ourselves as well.
“Live, love, laugh. Leave a legacy.”
~ Stephen R. Covey