This is Leadership: Build the people—“A good reward to a wrong recipient can collapse a good team.”

leader steers the team
Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah

There’s always a step before the run. A strong foundation is needed for every good project. In other words, be sure of the foundation before you think of building. If you want to taste leadership, try building a team. A leader requires a greater motivation to build. Every builder has a dream just as leaders have. This is why leaders are builders.

In building, it’s regular to encounter pessimists, rejections, killjoys, fears, doubts, haters, society hoodlums, regulators, systems and sometimes yourself. Nonetheless, the pain, the anger, the neglect, the joy, the darkness, the laugh, the failures and the wins make a leader eager to keep on building.

Good leaders build. If you are thinking of building, just start. Focus on the base. Fortify the corners. At the workplace, empower your supports and reports. Focus a lot more on people. It’s always people from day one. In my experience in starting a company, I always say people and others. It’s pretty clear if you read and understood the chapter on laying the foundation. A one-time military dictator who became a democratically elected president of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, said: ‘Leadership should have confidence in our people and not feel intimidated by empowering them’. Leadership is about empowerment.

In building, be open-minded and be ready to grow from a positional leader to an influential one. Form a team. Grow the team. Train the team to see the end of projects from beginning. It is very difficult but exciting as well. To select a team look out for people who have something to lose. People who have nothing to lose can easily give the vision away, aside from not working toward it. Engage the team to challenge each other to drive the goals in support of the team’s objectives.

The challenge should be around improving competencies and expanding capacities. Leaders must communicate intentions clearly so that teams wouldn’t think that dragging others down will elevate them. As a matter of fact, in building, leaders must communicate the motivation in delivering on tasks. Although a leader’s intention is to get the team along, a leader would have to build strong alliances to influence teams.

Let the standards be known and let it be measurable and be competed for. Standards must be known for total compliance. For example, every industry has its own regulatory requirements. Let the team know. Choose the right leaders to guide teams within the team. Don’t fit the crown on the knee instead of the head. Reward! But do it respectfully with wisdom. Be objective, subjectively. Good rewards to wrong recipients collapse teams.

Inasmuch as you activate strategies to keep a team motivated, don’t shake the table. Let the structure stand. A structure within a team is like a fulcrum that directs systems and people within a space. So if a leader is tasked to build structures and to build people, he is, as though, tasked to link several parts of a body to survive shocks in line with an arranged plan.

In effect, a leader is expected to connect and relate parts of something complex to function to meet a pattern as required by an organisation. When I say build the people, I’m saying that no good leader has accomplished anything remarkable alone. When you chart the course, as I hinted, you go with the people.

At best, leaders develop succession plans to keep visions alive. Prepare today for future opportunities. When you attempt to build structures to include the people, your test as a leader is to mould the team. Make the team strong. The strength of the wolf is in the pack. It’s not an easy task to bring everyone up to speed. It is extremely crucial and a torrid scorching experience.

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