DAILY INSIGHT: Puzzle pieces

Good leaders know it takes a team to make things happen. 
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Good leaders know it takes a team to make things happen. 

By Jon Castelhano, CIO Advisor

Another Hero

I am not sure what specifically prompted me to begin singing the Tina Turner song "We Don't Need Another Hero" recently. Usually that song only pops into my head when someone is trying to take a little more credit for something than they should, or when reminiscing about back in the day when my friends and I would jump garbage bags with a metal milk crate and piece of plywood on our BMX bikes. This time, however, I believe I was watching a sporting event and thinking about how incredible the athletes really are. I am definitely not a fan of the over-the-top, look-at-me athletes—those types can curl up to the Tina Turner song and keep telling themselves how great they are. I admire the humble, hard-working athletes who let their actions speak for themselves. Thinking about the leadership role that these athletes play in their specific discipline led me to draw comparisons to leaders in the workplace.

Behind The Success

The humble hardworking athletes I mentioned earlier will always mention the individuals that help them maintain their regiment that allows them to perform the way they do. If you think that a top-level athlete is doing it all by themselves, think again. These athletes have strength trainers, dietitians, specific discipline coaches, personal assistants, family and more that assist with putting together all the proper pieces so the athlete can achieve their goals. I find this very similar in many ways to the role that a leader plays on a daily basis. A leader is out front, answering questions, concerns, planning, influencing, basically performing like an athlete. The individuals behind the leader are all part of the puzzle and that leader will only perform well if all the pieces to the puzzle are fitting together. If an athlete or parts of their program are struggling, they must maintain communication with their support team to quickly address the issue. A leader does this much the same way in the workplace to reach the desired outcome.

On The Podium

I am not a huge Nascar fan, but I think most people have probably seen the winner's circle after a Nascar race. There are so many team members you often can't find the driver amongst the group. This is a good example of how many individuals are behind that car making it to the winner's circle and if just one of them has a bad day, it can keep the entire team from reaching its goal. One thing you can count on from that driver when interviewed, they will thank everyone behind their win that day. Leaders should not be different than that driver. Take every opportunity you can to thank all the pieces to the puzzle that are allowing you to be successful, because you can not do it alone.

Jon Castelhano is director of technology for Apache Junction USD in Arizona. This blog is cross posted on his blog, This and That.