How many of you have been in that team that we have fought or would have fought tooth and nail to stay in? You know, the team that you just cannot live without. The one that you look forward to going to work with every morning, where things just smooth seamlessly and everyone gets along. I have been in several teams over the years and have had some less than desirable teams and some really great teams. What are those key differences that made one team sync up better than the other?

Strength, ability, training, leadership, or simply personality? While all of these are a key factors there is always one area that can make a team miserable to show up to every day: The Team Leader. We use to have a saying that a “Team Leader is responsible for everything the team does or fails to do” This sucks! Total zero defect mentality!

Let’s go on quick flash back. So there I was, a young Recon Team Leader in Al Anbar Province, Iraq in the middle of the surge. Here I find my self with a less than staller Marine in my team during a time of combat where lives are at stake. One thing leads to another and here I am getting counseled by my Plt Sgt that he was a leadership challenge and I failed as a Team Leader to train him. A year later that same Plt Sgt gave that kid a Article 15 for being “less than steller”…. Then a decade later we are talking about this exact subject and he drops this knowledge on me, “the success of a team leader is perceived by others when the team can accomplish tasks together as a team by pure devotion and respect they have for each other, the success of a team is never determined by one man.” Priceless! Just shows you age, experience, and wisdom is nothing to snuff at!

Even if you have a strong team, if the team leader is less than stellar it will be a weight on the team’s production and morale. It will be a constant wall, one they will have to climb over to accomplish what could be done seamlessly.