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Diane Butler Shares 3 Lessons on Effective Team Building

"Leaders lead people; managers manage things," the commercial real estate entrepreneur shares.

Zig Ziglar said it best, “Successful people use their strength by recognizing, developing and utilizing the talents of others.” I’ve been fortunate to work with many fantastic people, teams, and organizations, and, as a result, I understand the differences between leadership and management. Leaders lead people; managers manage things.

Diane Butler

Leadership is about cultivating talent that’s motivated to learn and understand, believe in the vision you set for the team, and work to achieve common goals. Management is more about administering the work, budgets, contracts, processes, projects, and programs.

Author and speaker Alexander den Heijer writes, “When I talk to managers, I get the feeling that they are important. When I talk to leaders, I get the feeling that I am important.”

Indeed, leadership and management must work hand in hand. Even though they are different, they are linked and balance one another. Any effort to separate the two within a business is likely to cause more problems than it solves. The most important thing successful leaders and managers can do is to build successful teams.

My strategy for building an effective team is to focus on three key areas: vision, ownership, and relationships.

Create a shared vision.

Proverbs 29:18 begins, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I once had a mentor who said, “Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” Be forward-looking, envision exciting possibilities, and enlist others to see the future. To start, team members must clearly understand the business’s core values, purpose, mission, goals, and strategy and how they can best contribute.

Take ownership.

Leaders who embrace ownership keep learning, understand the importance of reputation, and stick up for their team. Ownership includes being decisive, finding solutions, delegating responsibility, abstaining from blame, and focusing on results. A business is a reflection of its leader. After all, a fish doesn’t stink just from the tail, and a company doesn’t succeed or fail from the bottom. 

Build relationships.

Mastering authentic relationships that build collaboration, create trust and inspire others is key to leadership effectiveness. Besides, with less face-to-face contact, your relationships can’t be on autopilot. The people who make a difference in the lives of others are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most notoriety; instead, they are the ones who care the most.

Commercial real estate is on an upward trajectory. As businesses try to be agile in the face of COVID-19, a tight labor market, racial equity, climate change, and digital transformation, among other challenges, the role of the leader is as important as ever.

Leaders must grow continuously and help their teams do the same. As you think about the opportunities for you to become more effective, consider how you can best fulfill your various obligations to your team.

As basketball great Michael Jordan has been quoted as saying: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” The same is true in business.

Commercial real estate entrepreneur Diane Butler is president of Dallas-based Butler Advisers.

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