“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn cofounder
The complexities of leading an organization have increased, and a new model has arisen: the leadership team, comprised of a CEO and their direct reports. Sounds straightforward, right?
Not so fast.
Leadership, alone, is challenging. Creating a team of diverse, high-performing leaders who must work together to achieve company goals multiplies those challenges exponentially. And what about the COVID-19 pandemic challenge of leading remotely? Leadership teams must understand the difficulties facing a team and learn to work together before they can effectively lead a company. The best leadership teams know how to:
Communicate the Vision
All team members share an understanding of the purpose of the team. In a changing environment, it can be tough to keep everyone on the same page. Communicating the vision works best when that vision is translated into concrete tasks for accomplishing goals. Make sure team members:
- Stay on message
- Put the good of the enterprise over individual gain
- Have access to the same resources
- Understand goals, strategies, and performance metrics
Several different types of conflict occur within teams:
- Task: Task conflict is not always a negative thing, as it relates to what the team needs to do and can produce innovative solutions to team challenges. Task conflict can be resolved by clearly defining the responsibilities of each person on the team.
- Process: Process conflict relates to how each member of the team prefers to get work done. Process conflict can be minimized by defining clear roles, establishing the best methods of communication among team members, and dividing labor efficiently. In the hybrid and remote-work workplace, it is particularly important to establish effective methods of dealing with process conflict.
- Interpersonal: Sometimes, personalities clash. Resolve interpersonal conflict through clear communication and mediation.
Fostering cooperation is necessary to teamwork, but no team is going to get along all the time. Expect conflict and have a plan for addressing frustrations. The best leadership teams create an environment in which all understand how diverse perspectives make the team stronger.
When working with a team of diverse, high-performing individuals, it is essential to get an efficient structure in place for who will accomplish tasks. As you organize the team, consider:
- Team size
- Individual skills and strengths
- Reporting structure
- Roles and responsibilities
An organized leadership team will be more productive.
In a successful leadership team, the CEO functions more as a coach instead of the boss, and the team learns to hold itself accountable. This step back requires a CEO to:
- Develop self-awareness
- Be open to feedback
- Listen to different perspectives
- View confrontation as part of the process
As the CEO models these behaviors, the team will follow suit, and a stronger unit will emerge.
Inspiration is another key component of effective leadership. Leaders that motivate their members with their energy and enthusiasm create more effective teams.
Team members trust each other when they like, respect, and can count on each other. Trust is established in many ways, including relationship building, expertise, and consistency. Leadership teams who invest the time to build trust will reach their goals faster.
Teamwork makes the dream work! But only a team of leaders who tackle the challenges of being a good teammate will turn their dreams into reality.
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