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The 'Team' Leadership Point of View

Alcide DeGagné

In my last post (Leadership Point of View – A Framework), I argued that we need to be fully conscious of our history and habits, and the effect these have on how we influence others. A good understanding of these facets of our personality can help us develop a personal “leadership point of view”.

In turn, our leadership point of view, consciously prepared and shared, informs how we “brand” ourselves to those who matter most in our working life  – our colleagues who work up, down, and across the organization.

Instead of people having to guess where we are coming from, why not share it proactively?

Armed with a Leadership Point of View

Armed with your new Leadership Point of View, expressed in the form of a “personal vision statement”, your next step is to share it with your direct reports. This is probably best accomplished by meeting with the whole team together because:

  • A team conversation is a declaration that not only do you trust each of them individually, but you consider the whole team a powerful resource. Trust is the glue that binds loyalty, cementing the leader-follower relationship.
  • Inviting diverse perspectives on your own leadership vision is a signal to the individual team members that each of them have a voice in influencing how you lead. This, in turn, can inform how the whole team’s influence needs to coalesce if it is to be effective in the larger organization.
  • A team conversation is an open invitation to each member to reflect on his or her own “leadership point of view”.
  • It sets the stage for the typically challenging work that teams go through in establishing their own norms for working together.

Rather than forcing team members to guess – or learn through trial-and-error – how their manager approaches leadership, why not do it proactively as a team building exercise? Keep in mind, though, that the use of an impartial facilitator can be useful, as this will allow everyone, even the team lead, to participate fully in the discussion.

Team Charter

Developing a charter for the team to define the purpose, the expectations, and the guidelines for how the members will work together can become an excellent team-building tool.

Typically, the Team Charter will incorporate a description of the team’s purpose, a statement of anticipated outcomes, operating guidelines, the team behaviour norms, and the roles and responsibilities of members.

Fleshing out the key components of the Team Charter tends to be pretty standard stuff, so I won’t deal with the details at this time. For those looking for guidance on this, you may want to check out the following for kick-starting a project team, or creating an effective management Team Charter.

More importantly, a draft Team Charter is a necessary context for two or more extended ‘team workout’ sessions in which the whole team will review how the team will function with “intention”. Done effectively, the Team Charter workout session can significantly shorten the amount of time it takes a team to move through the initial stages of Forming-Storming-Norming as described by Tuckman.  

No Stasis

If it isn’t already obvious, the Team Charter discussion becomes a dynamic process to further evolve your Leadership Point of View. In fact, you should plan regular team building ‘events’ to enhance team effectiveness. And, as the team inches its way forward, you should see a ‘team leadership point of view’ emerge that, in every substantive sense, resembles your own personal leadership point of view.

Also keep in mind that teams are rarely static. New members are added as others leave, bringing with them new experiences, perspectives, and dynamics. These changes in themselves offer opportunities to deepen and enrol others in the team leadership point of view.

It has been my experience that when the whole team gravitates to the same leadership point of view, the team gets the feeling that each “has the others back”, and that you’ve pretty much entered the realm of the High Performance Team.

 


Photo Credit: Blue Angels Steve Cooke-SRAviation via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Happy Team michael.heiss via Compfight cc

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