When leadership meets the Team

When leadership meets the Team

September 21st, 2018 // 12:18 pm @

Team building is rightly a valued skill, and critical to aligning organizations and in getting the greatest possible input from every member of the team.

Effective teams need leadership, and they work poorly if that leadership does not exist. Sometimes the lack of leadership is driven by a lack of managerial skill, but sometimes it is a clear managerial decision to allow the team to be a democracy, and this is done in the hope it will bind people even more closely to the organization.

In my experience this approach presents a number of challenges: –

All decisions contain three parts that need balanced, the commercial goal, the needs of the team, and the needs of the individual. Good team management balances these needs differently according to the issue and timeframe of decisions.

The issue in teams without clear leadership is they will naturally migrate to making decisions that reduce team conflict, but the objective tends to become less of a focus.

Good leadership of a team requires actively trying to get as much relevant input as possible, and to discuss all options; it however also requires a willingness to make clear decisions.

I ran a meeting when CEO of H.J.Heinz in Hungary regarding stopping making a product the factory had been producing for decades. The economic arguments for stopping making this product were overwhelming. However at the end of a long discussion every Hungarian manger wanted to keep making the product regardless of the economic logic. They had lost sight of the objective, which was to make money, and were focused on as a team not having to make an emotionally difficult decision. I understood their desire and wanted team unity, but on this occasion I decided to stop making the product.

I believe most people want to be part of good teams, to have their input actively sought and respected, but they also want the team to have proper leadership.

Abdicating leadership to the team, will tend to produce decisions that keep the team happy but do not produce the required objectives.

As a great boss of mine said “It is easy to keep the crew happy, but if the ship is sinking, that is where you need to focus”

Category : Blog &Leadership

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