Whether we work at a job, are the head of a family, or even play sports at school, we all have to work as a team to accomplish pretty much anything. But what does it take to be a successful leader? And more importantly, how can we make our teams successful?

Leadership Pitfalls

Before we get into the keys to success, let's take a look at what doesn't work. 

Management doesn't care. Sometimes people quit or leave teams because they don't feel like management or leaders value them or their contributions. "Many times, people just want to be heard," says business leader and author Charles Archer, who has been both a leader and a follower over the years.

Teamwork is difficult. Sometimes people don't carry their weight, or aren't working toward the same goal. That's when leaders have to step up and confront the situation. Managers might have to say, "This is not the ship for you. We need you to go find another boat," Archer says. Everyone needs to contribute every day if a company or organization is to succeed.

Teammates fail to speak up. It is important for other team members to tell leaders when they aren't getting what they need from their teammates.If someone has to carry the load for three or four colleagues, people become devalued and under appreciated.

Building Leadership Skills

As a leader, Archer learned the hard way that teamwork and camaraderie are important. There were times he put his own agenda first, he admits. But over the years, he learned what would best benefit his company. Here are a few of his secrets to success.

Remember there is no "I" in "team." Leaders must do what is best for the group, the team, or unit, Archer says. "It becomes about other people." Everybody has to do their part for everyone to be successful.

Good ideas can come from anywhere. Take Steve Jobs at Apple for example, Archer says, some ideas came from him and others came from other members of the team. "There's something to be said about someone who is a genius in his own right who says that other people literally have as much contribution and investment into our success as I do."

Value everyone. The key to success, however, boils down to one thing. It is vital all team members recognize that everyone on the team is important. From the janitor or receptionist to the owner of the company, every player has a key role to play in the organization. That's why the greatest lesson he can share with others, Archer says, is: "Everybody matters."

To learn other great leadership lessons, visit Everybody Paddles online or buy the book which is available in stores or for a reduced price on Amazon.

A Leader's Blueprint for Creating a Unified Team

By Charles A. Archer
186 pp. Greenleaf Book Group Press. $22.95.

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