By Michael Holland     

Looking back over the last 3 months, you can point to 4 specific times when you team was fully engaged, catching the perfect wave of energized synergy.  The team was so productive during those times that the whole quarter was successful because of those highly effective windows.

These are bright spots.  Identifiable anomalies that reveal glimmers that something is working very well.

Average leaders will look at the quarter and relish the fact that they and their team were successful.  They accomplished all that was expected, they met the standards as prescribed, and they achieved the goals dictated to them by senior management.

Great leaders don’t just bask in the bright spots: they focus intently on them.  They obsess about those spots, wondering what happened and  why the team was so engaged. They go native and look deeply into everything surrounding those time periods of great team engagement. They study the behaviors of the team, what meetings were held, what activities were going on, what the weather was like.  They seek to know anything and everything so that they can figure out how to clone those bright spots.

Great leaders are like average leaders in that they want to achieve the goals set forth.  But what sets great leaders apart – no matter their level in the organization – is the curiosity and determination to see, study, and enable those behaviors which will help the team to continually succeed beyond their own expectations.

What sets great leaders apart – no matter their level in the organization – is the curiosity and determination to see, study, and enable those behaviors which will help the team to continually succeed beyond their own expectations.

If this line of separation between average and great leaders seems to be quite thin, then you may be either 1) an average leader who really can’t see the opportunities which can exist for your team and yourself or 2) you are a great leader who is mature, humble and has already started observing how you may be able to help those average leaders grow.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Where would you place yourself on the scale of average to great leader? Why?
  • Take a moment to think of the most recent “bright spot” your team encountered. Focusing intently, try to come up with some theories about why things happened as they did and why your team was so engaged. How can you recreate this in the future?
  • Think back to some of the leaders you’ve worked under. Were they great leaders, or average ones? Did they strive to make “bright spots” occur more frequently? What did you learn from them?