Teams fail to achieve highest potentials when leaders do not know how to work with other leaders.
Most executives are members of several teams that are made of peers who have different functions in the organizations. They belong to senior management teams, commercial teams, marketing teams, research teams, product teams, project teams or ad hoc teams formed around specific and immediate initiatives.
Cross-functional teams are typically charged with developing and driving the implementation of the organization’s strategic directions.
They are tasked with solving big problems for the organizations.
Yet, many executives do not practice collaborative communication, problem solving, and decision making skills. Either they do not know, or their environment does not encourage them to practice collaboration.
Team leaders are either your best or worst team players. They are also your best and worst models for everyone in the organization.
Many executives are trained as individuals to win against all odds. Unfortunately, they sometimes fail to recognize the enemy.
They compete with each other instead of helping your organization compete with another organization. These attitude forces them to give more importance to competition than cooperation, to be on top the organization, rather than to lift up your organization. They model what you hate most.
Ineffective team members cannot be effective leaders.
Executives can only preach what they practice. They cannot give what they do not have. If they do not know how to synergize efforts with their peers, the best that they can do with the teams they lead is to mouth words like teamwork, unity, cooperation, service, and collaboration.
You know when they are doing it wrong: they complain much about their members. They do not coach. They do not motivate. They do not empower.
Why these problems continue to exist in organizations?
We expect that leaders know how to work together. They would not be in their leadership positions if they were not high performing individuals. Besides, every leader must have mastered the soft skills necessary to become team leaders.
Well, the soft stuff can be harder than you think.
Many cross-functional peer-to-peer teams find problem solving and decision making naturally difficult.
For example, while the Vice President of Engineering is typically well equipped to provide clear direction and produce compelling and analytically sound decisions, his or her skills are usually functionally bound and mostly authority based.
When these persuasive and knowledgeable functional advocates come together to shape or govern the strategic direction of their companies, they can find their collaborative skills inadequate.
The collaborative leadership skills required in the peer-to-peer environment are often inconsistent with functional leadership.
We must also recognize that in many organizations, the environment encourages competition, not cooperation and interdependence, among departments.
Leaders measure his success based on the rank of his or her department in the accomplishment of key result areas. They hoard information. They give false information so as not to give other departments the opportunity to outrank them.
This attitude is not everywhere but it has its cousins and sisters that stunt corporate growth.
The usual culprit, of course, is that organizations do not have rational team leadership development program outside of their annual company outing.
They think that team building is not an opportunity to improve work, but to not think of work.
We believe that every team building is an opportunity to clarify and cement leadership. Of course, very few organization really think that executive team building is necessary.
Executive team leadership is your most important team building intervention.
You can bring your team to Executive Team Leadership Workshops. In your workshops, you can target the following:
– How to Practice Collaborative Communication
– How to Practice Collaborative Problem Solving and Decision Making
– How to Develop the Leaders Ability to Design Optimal Motivation and High Performance
– How to Cultivate the Culture of Teamwork in Your Organization