I was asked to speak recently to another leadership team asking me to answer the following question, “You speak about alignment often… that’s great but how do we get ourselves aligned?” Below is an outline of my response:

1. Serve. There’s much talk nowadays about servant leadership but what is it? It is primarily a mindset each player embraces to do what needs to be done in service to the team and the mission. Here’s the basic question I need to ask myself: “Do I understand our mission and what am I doing to contribute to its success? If that’s too abstract, start by actually and concretely serving others. Buy your team member a cup of coffee on your own dime, not the business. Go support your colleague’s son or daughter by watching that next soccer match, or find a way to be that person who cheers everyone up! An attitude of service breaks down many walls.

2. Communicate. Healthy communication is dominated by keeping short accounts with one another. Do everything possible to squash dysfunction (relying on email, speaking to others about a problem you have with someone else, seeking to be “right” instead of being vulnerable, open, and listening). Learn tact, diplomacy, and empathy but always be a straight shooter. Always be aware of “where” you are and what kind of communication is appropriate. Here’s a great question that requires courage, humility, and love (ask this to those you serve): “Please tell me how I add value to your work and our team. Thank you, now, please be as honest as you can and share with me what I can do better.” Leadership is ALWAYS contextual so the more we learn, the better we will be able to provide transformational leadership.

3. Agree. To be aligned as a team, you must seek and worship truth. You must agree on values, goals, and objectives. You cannot leave the table without agreement even if we must agree that we are not aligned but will continue to work toward it tomorrow. Because we all have a variety of temperaments, we do not always see images the same nor ideas or words. Often, we think we are on the same page but once execution begins, we discover we’re not. The opposite is also true. Sometimes we think we are not on the same page because of our temperament nuances but in reality we are. Agreement is powerful but what most don’t know is that you have to walk through the door of disagreement to get there.

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