As we delve deeper into teamwork and you try to figure out your team, you need to figure out you. As a leader, you are the nucleus of your team, which means you must figure yourself out before you can build a high-performing team. I just got off the phone with a previous client who was looking to bring me back for an encore presentation. He said, “Walter, we heard your keynote. Do you have a new program?” He was about to retire from leading this organization for over 30 years. I told him absolutely! We have a brand new teamwork program that is taking the business world by storm. I explained each position to him: the innovator innovates, the implementer implements, the instigator instigates, the improvers improve, and the executors execute. He told me that was perfect for his group. I noticed a slight shift in his tone as he took on a melancholy mode that I could feel over the phone.

I couldn’t read what was wrong. Maybe he didn’t think our new teamwork framework was as good as I did, but he said he thought it was brilliant. As I pondered why his mood had shifted, he finally confessed. “I have been here for 30 years, and I just realized that I am an innovator, but my job required me to be an implementer. For 30 years, I have played out of position. That explains why I liked my job but never loved it.”

When we talk about employee engagement, job satisfaction, attrition, productivity, and all of the buzzwords that HR loves to throw around, it all boils down to your ability as leader to get your people in the right places so their innate attributes work in the context of their job. If you have someone playing out of position, you will never see that person at their best. I didn’t have to diagnose my retiring client because he came to his own conclusion. All I did was give him the context to understand how we are all wired and how critical our innate attributes are to fulfillment and productivity. I wonder if he will hold off retirement to allow his natural gift of innovation to operate for a few years. I am sure he will much more engaged and productive. The question for you is simple. Are you a natural innovator? Implementer? Instigator? Improver? Executor? You may be able to do a few well, but which one is primary? Once you understand yourself, the next job you have is to fill the other leadership positions with professionals that complement you.


Click the button below to receive a complimentary iTeam Audio Download where I teach you how to:

    • Build trust and respect between team members.
    • Collaborate and best use of each team member’s talents.
    • Ignite mutual understanding and respect.
    • Delegate tasks in a way that magnifies strength.
    • Build micro-teams and how to fix dysfunctional teams.
    • Boost employee engagement and job satisfaction.

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