Leadership Lesson: Turning Your Staff into Gladiators
The term ‘Gladiator’ has become a widely publicized and trending word primarily due to one woman who just happens to be a fictitious character, Olivia Pope. Her name is synonymous with passion, strength and of course, scandal.
Millions upon millions shut down everything around them on Thursday nights to find out what Olivia, Harrison, Huck and the rest of the gladiators will do next. Scandal has Thursday nights on ABC locked down. Early reports from the show reveal the highest ratings the station has had in that time slot in years.
That’s great for them, but what if we could take this same passion displayed on television and use it to raise an army of gladiators within our own organizations to tackle problems and come out victorious? The fact of the matter is we can!
Let’s start by understanding some basic truths about gladiators, where they come from and also how they were trained. First, the word ‘Gladiator’ in the Latin is (gladius) and refers to a swordsman. But on a deeper study, it infers a trained swordsman who has become one with his weapon.
Imagine having the capacity to train your staff so well and couple that with their own skill set to the point they become ‘one’ with the organization’s vision. True leaders don’t create followers; they develop people who are indistinguishable with their purpose. They are one with it.
There are (3) key facts about Gladiators that will make this journey crystal clear:
1. In ancient Rome Gladiators were required to join an association to ensure proper training, treatment and compensation: Here is the power of a network. By being in a group like this, gladiators had a better chance of living a longer, more fruitful life. If you are going to have a successful team, they need a network to get connected to. We all become who we spend the most time with. Gladiators had the sense to get plugged in to a system that would help them advance. They even made sure that in the event of death, they received a proper burial and their family was compensated.
2. Gladiators were only required to participate in a maximum of 3 fights per 30 days: We live in a world that’s turned on and up 24 hours a day. We never rest and whenever we try, we are holding a smart phone in our hand. Family time has been replaced by quick meals so we can get back to our computers. You cannot leave something on all the time and expect it to function properly. Gladiators only had to fight 3 times a month. Why? Because our bodies need to recharge just like our minds.
3. The gladiators where paired into groups with younger fighters and more skilled ones: Even gladiators needed mentors. Stop expecting your staff to catch the vision and be prepared to execute without proper training with skilled workers. Everybody needs a learning curve to adapt to. Maybe you are throwing too much at your staff and it is causing them to fail. Put them alongside a mentor and watch them flourish.
John Maxwell says, “An organization’s greatest battle is not with its competition or its staff. It lies with developing a winning culture.” If we are going to win within the ranks of our staff, it will be because we have helped them transition from employees who have very little vested into the future to gladiators who are ready to become one with the mission. But it does not happen automatically.
Gladiators need mentoring, competent training and to develop the ability to get along with each other. It will also take dedication from leadership to put them in the best position to succeed. With these things in your armory, you will be leading a pack of gladiators in no time!
Early L. Jackson Jr., is a successful life coach, speaker, and author. He has a special ability to build leaders, while developing people to a life of happiness, with deep, lasting satisfaction and fulfillment. His overarching belief “If we are to exercise our full status and potential in this life we must be retrained in our daily behavior and mind sets” is a prevalent and recurring theme in his teachings. Visit him at EarlyJacksonCoaching.com