06 Aug What can two tiny sand dollars teach us about leadership?
I don’t usually see sand dollars on the beach, and I go almost every day. However, on a beautiful morning last week, I spotted not one, but two, sand dollars. They were almost identical in size and shape. I picked them up thinking they’re so fragile, and yet, so strong to survive being tossed around in the ocean. I observed how they were the same and how they were different. Then it struck me. The sand dollars are like people.
As a young manager many years ago, I was taught that I should treat all of my team members the same. (I had no idea how that advice would fail me again and again) Yes, when it comes to benefit packages and policies, that is sound advice. However, when it comes to leading people, it just doesn’t work. Because like those sand dollars, no two people are the same. No two people have had the same experiences in their lives, and no two people need the same things to succeed.
If our outcome is to build a strong team, the only way to do that is to have strong, confident, passionate, purposeful individuals on that team. Each of them needs something different from you as a leader. They need to be seen AND heard for who they are not who you think they should be or not in comparison to others you’ve had on a team. You must LEAD each person individually to build a strong team!
Look at these two tiny sand dollars. Like people, while beautiful, both have imperfections. We all do. One is a little broken, and the other is a little bruised. We can’t always see the bruises and hurts of people, but they are there. The only way we will ever know what’s going on with our team is to be vulnerable enough to open up ourselves first. Then they will trust us enough to tell us what’s happening. Once that occurs, we can help them tap into their passions and drive for their dreams. We can really listen for their fears so we can help them write positive stories focused on what they want.
Take a new look at each of your team members as individuals who all need something different from someone else. I promise you will be rewarded with a next-level team member and a much stronger team. Additionally, the more you take care of them, the more they will take care of you. Guaranteed!
Do you want to build stronger teams with stronger individual team members? That’s what we do! Let’s talk. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.