When Leadership Teams Are Not Teams
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
Major Organisational Initiatives Come From Teamwork
In some organisations there is no need for major change initiatives or significant change to occur. In other organisations the future viability and success of the business depends on the implementation of those major change initiatives. Where this is the case the leadership team will play a crucial role in determining the success or failure of those initiatives.
The purpose of this blog is to provoke thought in leaders of those organisations where major change or improvement is required and the leadership team is not working together effectively to lead this change. We will look at what might be happening at a foundation level to cause this and what you can do as the leader to impact improvement in leadership team performance.
When major change is required, this can’t be exclusively owned by one member of the executive or leadership team. It requires all members of the team to work together and play their respective parts in delivering on the change management strategy and achieving the related goals. For this to happen there are some fundamental foundations that need to be in place and one or more of these are often missing from leadership teams that are not realising their potential. These foundation stones are as follows:
- There is a degree of trust between team members
- This trust is created by genuine openness and honesty
- They have brought into the vision, priority and plan of the team and the part they play in delivering this
- There is a degree of professional respect born from working together and utilising complimentary skills
- They prioritise their team role and responsibilities ahead of their operational management role
Where these elements are not in place you will, to one degree or another, have a collection of individuals who may all be talented and may even play nicely together, but are not getting runs on the board at the pace required in terms of the major change initiative. If this is occurring, leaders can play a crucial role in facilitating a new level of teamwork.
So how do you do this? Start by finding a way to honestly discuss with the team what is happening, your concerns and your need for progress. Encourage frank two-way dialogue in this discussion. Remind them that being a member of any leadership team requires them to do what is necessary to work effectively in that team, and if in the odd case they can’t then that seat needs to be freed up for someone who can. It is not sufficient in most executive teams to be there simply to report on their individual business unit – they are primarily there to contribute their part in achieving something collectively as a team. Ask them what else you can do as a leader to ensure team strategies and goals are achieved.
Teamwork does not typically occur by accident, it requires discussion, focus and commitment. Getting your team to work effectively together towards common objectives may be one of the most significant ways you can impact organisational performance. It is likely to be well worth the time you invest.