How can you lead your team if you can’t lead yourself?

It seems obvious that if you’re going to be an effective leader of a successful team, you’re going to have to be able to lead yourself too. Managers aren’t excluded from the formula of organisational success – it depends on efficient leadership as well as efficient teams.

Leadership is important in any organisation. It’s up to leaders to provide guidance and insight to their teams, demonstrate their organisation’s values in their work, and steer their teams down the road to success. They’re also ultimately responsible for engaging their employees in their work.

Effective managers, who listen to their employees and encourage productivity, are conducive to greater well-being and improved performance amongst their teams (MacCleod & Clarke 2009). When managers praise hard work, sympathise with employees’ problems, and value their teams’ successes, they can help employees realise their buried potential. When people are happy in the workplace, they’re more actively engaged within it. And engagement equals productivity!

Consider whether you would want to work hard under a manager who didn’t respect you or make you feel appreciated. You probably wouldn’t feel very motivated; in fact, 85% of organisations say that their line managers and supervisors lack effective management and leadership skills (CIPD 2012). That’s a lot of organisations, and if our calculations are correct, a lot of disengaged employees.

Jane Sparrow, Managing Director of behavioural change consultancy Northern Flight, divides the role of the manager into five parts: the Prophet (inspiring employees in the workplace), the Storyteller (emotionally engaging employees in their organisation’s continuous journey), the Strategist (logical and rational, understanding how to engage each and every employee), the Coach (encouraging their employees’ growth and contribution to the workplace and ensuring that they feel valued within it), and the Pilot (calm and measured, providing a ‘parental’, mentoring quality to the manager-employee relationship). Based on this, the perfect manager would constitute an equal balance of all of these qualities.

Each of these factors contribute to the level of engagement felt amongst employees. While it may seem a tough ask for a manager to consistently exhibit all of these qualities simultaneously, if they are defective in even just one, the manager-employee relationship could suffer. But while the most effective manager may be able to seamlessly amalgamate every one of these qualities, like the old proverb goes – if they can’t lead themselves, they can’t expect to easily lead their teams.

So how do you go about leading yourself? Answer: you have to know yourself first.

PRINT® can be hugely beneficial in helping managers to understand their employees – which is crucial to an effective, positive team – but it can also be useful in helping them understand themselves. PRINT® aims to unite working teams in positive productivity and encourage mutual understanding of how to stimulate Best Self and dampen Shadow behaviour, facilitated through the shared knowledge of different employees’ Unconscious Motivators® and triggers. But if this understanding is to be universal, it’s not just employees who need to welcome the uses of PRINT® psychology – managers must do too.

By identifying and acknowledging other people’s triggers and what is conducive to encouraging their Best Self behaviour, and receiving the same cognition in return, all employees within a work place can mould their behaviour to suit everybody (where possible) and subsequently fashion a more positive, and more productive, working environment. And when managers are included in this formula, so can they. By understanding how they respond to particular actions and situations, and what triggers them into Shadow, managers can integrate themselves and their behaviour into this environment and lead more understanding, efficient and engaged teams.


For more information on how PRINT® could benefit yourself or your organisation, email, visit our website and social media (Facebook: @discoveryourprint, Twitter: @Discover_Print, LinkedIn: Print Profile Ltd) or sign up to our mailing list. If you’d like to bring PRINT’s benefits to organisations and businesses, we offer Accreditation courses enabling in-house coaches and learning & development professionals to become certified PRINT® coaches.