Danny checks his email and finds a message advising him that he is the new team leader for the Alpha project. The email goes on to say that “during your time at this company, we believe you have shown the skills needed for success as a leader.” He immediately hits panic mode. His dream has come true—but he’s not quite sure he is ready to lead.

When it comes to leading a team, it’s not always industry knowledge that makes you successful. You must also be able to recognize specific talents and bring the personalities of a team together to achieve the right goals. Leadership is about finding the GLUE (Gather, Listen, Unify, Empower) that binds your team together, as we discuss in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Gather information about the team members and their backgrounds and skill sets. Sometimes that information is available within the organization. Other times you are fortunate enough to know your team members well enough to ask. No matter how you acquire the information, learn what you can about what the players have done on other teams or within the company at large. This background information is essential as a basis upon which you will build the infrastructure of your team. Now keep in mind: people change. Therefore, this collected information will be subject to modification and change as you watch the team come together during the life of the project. The initial information should be reviewed and analyzed as much as you analyze the project itself.

Listen to their concerns and knowledge to determine their ability to understand and comprehend. As you do so, several types of players will surface. The way they speak and address the situation at hand will give you great insight into the type of team member they will become.

As each team member speaks or reacts to your plan, you must balance their words and actions against the information you have gathered about their backgrounds and against the plan you wish to implement. Team members will all bring positive skillsets to the table. Pay attention to those who will be constructive team members and aggressive participants as well as those with initiative who will lead their portion of the project with excitement. You may find that one person is an expert in the subject matter at hand while another is an expert in organization.

Unify them by finding a common thread, or by creating one that they can commit to. Once you have identified the types of team members you are managing, you will want to present the project and the individual tasks in a format that speaks to the specific skillsets of the individual members.

Create unity by making it clear that they are all essential and necessary members of your team. Help them understand that they are working for the common good of the team and the organization, and let them know that their relationship to each other is vital for success. If they can understand how they fit into the big picture—and how the project fits into the big picture of the organization—they will be more likely to feel like a part of the solution.

Empower the team to execute the plan with dedication and passion. Make the path ahead clear. Allow them to understand the stages of development as your project progresses. Give them feedback as you move along the way, and be ready and willing to step in and assist with mediation if conflict or hostility begins. By allowing the team to clearly visualize the direction upon which they are embarking, execution will become more fluid and guaranteed. Always keep an open line of communication with all team members in a transparent and open fashion so that you will minimize the risk of competition for control.

Stick to GLUE and your team will reach the goals you lay out for them.

Source: Joe Curcillo, The Mindshark, is a speaker, entertainer, lawyer and communications expert. As an adjunct professor at Widener University School of Law, Curcillo developed a hands-on course, based on the use of storytelling as a persuasive weapon. He has been a professional entertainer since 1979 helping corporations and associations improve their communication techniques.