This article, and this question is for you.
If you are reading this as a leader, the two obvious answers to the “who’s on your team?” question are:
- The team you lead.
- The team of your peers.
The day you gained a title that made you a leader of others, you became a part of these two teams – and both of these teams are important. Ignoring your team of peers or thinking you are the leader of, but not a part of, the team you lead are both shortsighted mistakes.
But there are more people on your team that these two groups. Consider these people too (and I’ll tell you why) . . .
Your mentor(s). Your mentors believe in you and care about your success. Of course they are on your team! Spend some time thinking about how they help you, how you can help them and how you can show your gratitude for the role they play in your life. And if you don’t have any mentors, maybe it is time for you to actively search for one.
Your boss. I don’t know what your relationship with your boss is; I hope it is a positive and supportive one. If it is, you may already consider this person to be on your team. If they are less supportive, or mostly absent, you might think I am crazy to suggest they are on your team. Even if they aren’t the perfect boss, and you wished for something different, they can provide you with a perspective on the organization and your work that you likely wouldn’t have otherwise. Recognize that valuable perspective. And if they aren’t exactly a role model leader, at least you can learn what you don’t want to emulate.
Others in your professional life. You may have Customers, vendors or people in other departments that you might consider as part of your team. These people can help you succeed, give you input and perspective, and in many cases, make your job and life easier. How might you treat them differently if you thought about them as on your team?
Your team of advisors. Businesses have boards of directors; you need a team of advisors. Who are your trusted advisors, the people you look to for advice and look up to for who they are and what they do? You can have a more formal group, or something informal – people you think of in this way, but they might not even know each other. Either way, these people are an important part of your team. If you have this group of people in your life, consider making them a more formal and consistent part of your life and team. If you haven’t ever considered this concept, I urge you to intentionally build this group into your life.
Your significant other. I’ve saved perhaps the most important one for last (almost). I hope for you that your significant other (if you have one) is the person who knows you best, cares about you the most and is therefore in a great position to provide you with perspective and feedback. Do you think of them as a part of your team? After all, all of the decisions you make will impact them directly. Do you seek their advice, and let them into your thoughts and potential plans?
Your family. For the same reasons as your spouse, your family (however closely or broadly you choose to define it) is on your team. Invite them in; value their input, ask for their help. The intentional inclusion could mean as much or more than the advice and support they provide. Either way, consider them on your team.
This list, of course, applies to all of us – not just those who might be leading others. When you view the world through the lens that all of these people are on your team, you may treat them differently, value them more, improve your relationships with them, and benefit more from their advice.
All of these people can help you reach your goals. Most (if not all) of them are soundly in your corner and want you to succeed. Include them on your personal team. Engage with them more, ask their advice more regularly, and thank them for being important in your life. You have a golden opportunity to get more done, become wiser, more productive and effective when you answer the question “who’s on your team?” more broadly and accurately.