Is it just luck? There's no point in keeping fingers crossed for great performance.
Updated: Jan 14
On a recent Management Skills course that we ran, one of the delegates was engaged, enthusiastic and full of great examples of what was working well for their team. We could
see from their results and the engagement levels of their team that they were doing a good job of focusing on the activities that enabled their team to be their best.
The interesting thing about this delegate was that when asked about their team, their response was "I'm really lucky with my team, they're a great group, some of the teams in my department really aren't great, but I'm fortunate to have a group of motivated, enthusiastic people".
It seems that this individual had no idea that the very reason that their team is a "great group" has little to do with luck, and everything to do with having a great manager.
We've seen it before - a demotivated team whose manager does not recognise that their own actions have a huge amount to do with the demotivation, that their failure to act, engage or focus on their people is a part of the problem. On the flip side, managers like the one on our recent course, who believe that they've just got lucky with their people, and don't recognise the critical role that they play in the success of that team.
A great team takes effort and dedication, whether you're a team of two or two hundred. Of course, the big picture of the organisation can help or hinder team performance, but if you are managing a team, are you doing so proactively, or are you just hoping and leaving it to chance?
There are many simple things that you can do to improve or boost the performance of your team, (we recommend reading our book, Mistakes Managers Make, which you can request for free).
Where to start? our advice is to lead by example - be the dedicated, motivated and engaged person that you want your team to be.
This is what our "lucky" delegate was doing - showing the team the way, rather than telling them, being motivated, interested and committed, and so it made sense for the team to follow suit. It's as a result of their manager's behaviour, approach and example that the were able and encouraged to perform at their best. These behaviours also fostered the good working relationships that enabled the manager to tackle any issues as they arose, with honesty and good intention.
So, ask yourself if you feel like a lucky manager? Or have you been unlucky in the team that you inherited? Just take a moment to examine how your own behaviours and actions can shape that luck, and make the decision to be a lucky manager. After all, as many have told me in the past, you make your own luck in this life.