Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto

IMG_0916As a kid, I grew up watching old reruns of the “Lone Ranger”. And recently I came across this joke…

One day, the Lone Ranger and Tonto were out on patrol when they came to a mountain pass. As they rode through the pass, the Lone Ranger noticed a large number of Indians looking down at them from the ridge above. He looked to the opposite ridge, and found it similarly populated. Glancing ahead and behind, he discovered the pass completely blocked by more Indians.

 “Well, Tonto, it looks like we’re headed for some trouble,” the Lone Ranger said to his faithful companion.

 “What you mean WE, white man?” came the reply.

Now the Tonto I know would never really do that. He was a faithful companion who knew there was no “I” in team! No organization has any room for “Lone Rangers”. It takes a TEAM!

May I suggest 4 qualities of a healthy team…

#1)   Trust

Here’s a Lone Ranger trivia question… Tonto called the Lone Ranger “Kemosabe”. What does this word mean? It’s a Native American term meaning “trusted (or faithful) companion”. Would your team see you as a trusted companion? Trust is built by leading with character, being consistent, and genuinely caring for your team. Are you… Kemosabe?

#2)  Encouragement AND Exhortation

Encouragement is an “arm around the shoulders” and exhortation is a “kick in the pants”. Your team needs an environment where affirmation is a normal part of the culture. The leader helps create this culture by his example. Are you a cheerleader for your team? The team also needs accountability. There must be a commitment that everyone “pulls their weight”. It demoralizes a team when others have to compensate for team members not doing their job well because the leader doesn’t have the relational character or courage to hold people accountable. Perhaps that seems harsh, but consider it the “kick in the pants” part of this blog. 🙂

#3) Authenticity

Your organization needs an environment of openness and honesty. When trust is built and people feel the freedom to be real, people will trust you when you offer encouragement and will receive exhortation because they trust your heart as a leader.

#4) Mission

“Warm fuzzy” feelings are great as everyone sings “Kumbaya” around the campfire, but at the end of the day, the team must be tenaciously committed to accomplishing the mission that links them together. The Lone Ranger and Tonto made a great team because they knew the mission… protect and serve the people by getting the bad guys. How about your team? Is the mission clear?

So Kemosabe, go build that team and accomplish your “God-sized” mission. And one more thing… “Hi-Yo Silver”!

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