Watched a road crew at work this morning while walking to a meeting. The team leader was having a bad day. A bus driver was hitting her horn because a traffic barricade was in her way. The team leader yelled, threw a fist into the air and then kicked over the barricade. One angry man.

Then he started yelling at his crew. Mocking them. Spitting out his venom. They looked down at the ground and kept on working. I sense they felt humiliated by the public spectacle. But the team leader continued his rant. Pouring his toxic waste out onto the busy street. Tonight he’ll blame his crew for a low-performance day.

The big idea: your team will never be greater than you are (even if you are not the team leader). You set the level of how high you all can fly. Each finger affects the strength of the hand. When organizations bring me in to help teams get to world-class performance and results, I gently remind everyone in the room that everything begins with you. Forget blaming others – that’s just excusing yourself. And it all begins with your inner world. External leadership begins with internal mastery. You can’t help in the building of an extraordinary organization until you commit to becoming an extraordinary person.

That team leader on the street might want to look in the mirror. Might want to clean up his own messes. Deal with his personal anger. Work on his limiting beliefs. Develop his own character. "Soft stuff Robin." Nope – I don’t think so. It’s hard stuff. The stuff that ultimately drives better business results. Boosts bottom line. Gets organizations to greatness. And did I mention that it all starts with you? Because it does.

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