Tough Spots – Leading when we are not winning

We closed our Financial Year last month. And as I looked back at my Journey during the FY and my overall time leading the Customer Experience and Collaboration team in my organization, I realized that in the 4 years that I have been the captain, we have had so much done yet we still have quite a long way to go. As a team, we have had many highs and indeed many lows, winning opportunities we never thought we stood a chance to win, while losing some we were so confident that we would come out on top.

In addition to these we have also had highs and lows as a team that are outside our core business at the organization and what makes us individuals that we are. In family as well as at personal levels. Looking at all these what I have come to realize is that it is that in our team, we will always have moments and times when we are winning and those that we are loosing and indeed learning. The moments when we loose, the moments we are not winning as a team are the moments that have greatly tested my leadership of the team.

In these moments when we are down I did learn some key lessons:

  1. My Team members are human beings with emotional needs: As managers it is sometimes very easy for us to “forget” that our team members (even the golden goose ğŸ™‚ are humans and they just like us more often than not also feel the pain of not winning. As the team leader, the Revenue and GP target rests with me and more often I may feel the pressure of not achieving the Quarterly targets, but this year more often than not I saw it in my team especially the more senior technical guys that indeed they felt my pain every time we lost an opportunity. As the team leader, my role in charging them forward in these moments proved vital as we had to keep moving forward. Being acutely aware of the emotional strain they too had proved to be a great asset enabling me to learn and value their feedback every time we took a review on why we didn’t win.
  2. Real Leadership is at the moments we are NOT winning: It is easy to lead when the ship is a float, it is easy to lead when the deal is closed and the champagne bottle is being popped. However, it is much more harder to lead when you just lost a contract you have had for 3 years. It is in these moments that my leadership and ability to rally my team and to share the hope and vision of a better future were tested. During these moments as a leader, my attitude, confidence and indeed feedback to the team members who were involved in the particular project or opportunity is very important. Not only was choosing my words critically important but also my behavior and actual reaction were critical.
  3. How I bring myself everyday, impacts my Team: This is probably one of the most critical things I learned in FY18, that each morning presented me with a new opportunity to not only re-invent myself but also give my team the opportunity to do better than we did yesterday. As a leader, my team always read into how I brought myself every day. In FY19, we had a tough year , however when the calendar finally turned to a new FY, our resolve is clear and I have purposed that we will bring our A game each time.

Indeed there will be moments we are winning and those that we are not winning. These moments will be our tough spots but it is at these moments that I will purpose to bring myself in the right way and as a result the team will do what we have to do.

Bringing it all Together

Leadership is indeed a tough and long journey. As team leaders, we ought to realize that our teams are composed of people with emotional needs, people with families, people that want us to succeed and every time we do not win ( or have conflict) , these people like us, also feel the pain and the disappointment. Our leadership will be greatly tested in moments when we do not win, it is during these times that our resolve, our attitude and “whom” we bring to the table will determine our long term success as a team and by large as an organization.

FY21 Lego!

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