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Are You Just the Glue Holding Your People Together?

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I’ve recently had the privilege of a serene holiday, immersing myself in the tranquillity of nature in a tropical paradise – please don’t hate me but it was delicious!

One of the reasons I place a lot of emphasis on taking time out is a) we need the rest if we are to maintain our ability to sustain the pace our work and life demands – like powering down your laptop so that when you power it up it’s back to full speed, and, b) time out also creates a wonderful opportunity to tap into our creativity, to be more expansive in our thinking. So what you are about to read, is in fact, the best evidence I have to support that theory.

Whilst enjoying my virgin mojito under a rattan parasol (ok, I’ll stop now!) much musing was done and one particular day I was inspired by a thought: “I wonder how many business leaders, feel totally confident to leave their operations in the hands of their people, and believe that everything will continue to run smoothly?

The idea of a team that not only survives but thrives in the leader’s absence is the ideal, isn’t it?

Sometimes being a great leader means going against our primal instincts for survival. Being a great leader, means effectively, to render ourselves surplus to requirement or to put it bluntly, completely redundant.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. If you are telling your team to “just hold the fort” every time you step out, there’s a fundamental issue we need to address. Being the leader does not mean the organisation should crumble when you are not there. Conversely, you need your people to be resilient, effective, and empowered both in your presence and your absence.

Can you honestly say you’d leave your people without a trace of worry? According to the recent Gallup report, State of the Global Workplace, only about 20% of employees are engaged at work. That means, potentially, only a fifth of your team is bringing their A-game when you’re not around. That’s a scary thought, right?

So, the question is, how can we transform this situation? How can we create a team that is as robust and resilient even when the leader is not present?

The answer lies in a blend of empowerment, resilience, and most importantly, leadership.

As Derek Sivers profoundly puts it in his blog post about delegating, “Delegate, but don’t abdicate.” This means entrusting tasks to your team but not abandoning your responsibility. This will help your people develop the skills, confidence, and resilience they need to keep the ship sailing, even when the captain’s on shore leave.

Creating a culture of autonomy and trust is key. As Sivers further articulates, “The best leaders don’t give answers. They ask good questions.” That means, as their leader, it is up to you to foster a culture where everyone is inspired to take initiative and feel a sense of ownership over their work. You need to find ways of enabling your team to become problem-solvers and decision-makers, confident in their abilities to keep the ball rolling whether you’re in the office or off hiking through a rainforest (oops sorry!).

As I leave you with these thoughts, reflect on where you act as the glue that holds your people together. What if, instead of always being the glue, you nurtured and cultivated an environment where every member of your team becomes a cohesive force?

The process of fostering an environment like this is a journey, not a quick fix. It demands patience, unwavering commitment, and courageous leadership. But imagine the profound transformation it could bring – to your people, your business, and your personal wellbeing.

Picture yourself embarking on a holiday with a calm and relaxed mind – I can share my holiday photos if you need inspiration 😉 – and trusting that your team has the autonomy and the resilience to move the business forward without you. Visualise your team members stepping up, taking charge, and growing from the experience.

You see, being the glue is not just about holding things together, it’s about building an ecosystem that is self-sustaining. And to achieve that, you may need to go on your own journey to become the leader you know will get you and your people the results they deserve.

Remember that true leadership lies not only in leading the way but in nurturing others to lead the way too.

If you’d like to find out more about how The Business Spa supports leaders, check out our free Resilience Masterclass here –