Building a Cohesive Leadership Team
In Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Advantage, he outlines four disciplines of leading a healthy, successful organization or team. Team leaders who are intentional about leading in this disciplined manner will build teams who reach their goals and whose members experience job satisfaction.
Let’s look at the first discipline: Build a Cohesive Leadership Team.
Building a cohesive leadership team requires equipping team leaders to practice the five leadership behaviors of functional teams.
They rarely experience the five dysfunctions that often hinder team success:
a) Absence of Trust
b) Fear of Conflict
c) Lack of Commitment
d) Avoidance of Accountability
e) Inattention to Results
Overcoming the Absence of Trust requires that the leaders focus on Building Trust. Such leaders are willing to be vulnerable and personable with all team members. They will be the first to admit mistakes, apologize, try new approaches, get to know team members, and express appreciation. They will take the time, and make it a priority for all team members to have the time, to get to know each other well enough to be willing and able to trust each other to apply their strengths to achieving group goals.
Overcoming the Fear of Conflict requires the leaders to Master Conflict. This involves mining for conflict, ensuring that when there are differences of opinion they aren’t swept under the carpet. Various options for handling team challenges are expressed, heard, and discussed. The pros and cons of each option are articulated. All team members feel free to express their perspectives without fear of retribution.
Overcoming Lack of Commitment requires that the leaders Achieve Commitment from everyone on the team before finalizing decisions about what the team will do and how the work will be done. Individuals whose knowledge and experience haven’t been taken into consideration may feel the group decision is inappropriate. They haven’t bought in and won’t likely implement the change. Ask those who aren’t on side to express their concerns and, as a group, address these concerns until everyone understands and supports a final decision. Without at least 70% support the new approach is not likely to be consistently implemented, so there is no point in declaring a final decision if team members aren’t on side.
Overcoming Avoidance of Accountability requires that the leaders and the team members Embrace Accountability. It requires setting clear expectations and timelines and requiring that they be met. When anyone misses a deadline or doesn’t do their job accurately, the leaders must confront them, asking about their bottleneck and requesting completion by a revised near-future deadline.
Overcoming Inattention to Results requires that leaders Focus on Results. The target results must be talked about frequently. Progress needs to be measured and communicated to all team members daily or weekly to remind everyone where they are supposed to be focusing their time and the team’s resources.
Leading a high performing team requires persistence. Team leaders need to be unified about expectations and leadership responsibilities to consistently guide team members, building a quality team.