Messages from the Masters
A Leader Is a Team Builder by Sheila Murray Bethel, Ph.D.

Humans have always formed groups to accomplish goals that could not be reached by any one person.  Even in a culture like ours, that values individuality, the individual's need to be a part of something bigger than self, something that is supportive and reinforcing it is a strong motivator.  We know we can make a bigger difference when we do it together.

If you can attract the right people to your team, communicate a mission and then motivate, train and direct that team to a maximum productivity you'll be one of the most valued leaders for the 21st century.  But, to be this kind of a leader, you must be a coach in the classics sense.  You must concentrate on the three basics of team building: directing, motivating and training.  Let's look at these three basics of team building so you can maximize both your potential as a leader and the potential of your followers.


When you give people direction, challenge them to use their talents, and give them the autonomy to achieve a goal, you have helped them fulfill their personal potential and also the potential of the team.  Every team needs to have a sense of purpose, a mini-mission.  How do you build a mini mission statement? 
Get organized.  Ask the team, why do we exist? Whom do we serve?   What is the most basic activity for this team?

Identify potential problems.  Look for areas were problems might occur.  What challenges might arise?
Focus on solutions. Once you have defined a problem area stop discussing it in get on with the solutions.

Set your action plan.  Decide what you can do to correct a problem, advance in idea, or move the team forward to achieve its mission.  Take the time to plan where you want to go, how you will get there, and how you will know that you have arrived.

Reward and recognize.  Rewards and recognition are the fertilizer in the garden of human growth.  It is not enough to direct your team, they must be motivated to follow your lead.  Those who feel they are appreciated will be receptive to your direction.


Motivation is something that we do for ourselves.  However, as a team leader, you can create the environment that fosters personal motivation in your people.  You can help them to be more professional, you can respect them as individuals and help them to grow.

Today, it is not the job they do but how they do the job that entitles each team member to be called a professional.  To set examples of professionalism ask yourself the following questions. Have I defined professionalism for myself? Do my people have a clear job description that defines responsibility and accountability? Do I have an effective performance evaluation system?

If you set high standards and expect people to meet them, you must be articulate in your communication of the standards.  Every member of the team can be a professional if you take the time and effort to help him or her.  There is no better way to serve than to help them be the best that they can be. 


Education and training are the keys to staying competitive in the world market.  It is said that "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance."  When people can see a way to improve they are more easily motivated to do so.  Training is the great motivator.  When training, remember: Don't skip the basics.  Reviewing the basics keeps everyone on track.  Teach adults what they need to know. New ideas, techniques and information must be relevant to immediate needs the training must improve the ability to function or it will not be retained. Stress personal benefits.  Each member of your team will want to know how does training benefit me?  How will it increase my competence?  Is it relevant to my job or my life? Training makes the difference 

Team building is the catalyst of all that you want to accomplish. There is no better way to serve your followers than by directing, motivating and training.  This is the formula for success in team building.  The road to making a difference may be challenging and difficult but with a team of competent, willing helpers you will reach your goal.

To learn more about Sheila Murray Bethel's audios, books and speaking schedule, visit  © Copyright Bethel Institute 2000

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International

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