Building a Dynamic Leadership Team
Incorporating the 3 Be’s to create cohesive leadership team
Building a dynamic and effective leadership team is a feat that a lot of businesses, no matter their size, struggle accomplishing. Based on the significant number of books, articles, videos, and posts circulating around these days about leadership, I’d say the concern for cultivating leadership and the desire to lead well permeate throughout the business world, regardless of industry. In fact, if you Google the phase, “evidence of bad leadership teams” — you get 40M+ responses in 0.55 seconds… that’ a lot of information to sort through!
The Small Business Chronicle indicates some of the key traits of an ineffective leadership team, including: no chemistry, no communication, high employee turnover, no vision, micromanagement, lack of clear expectation for employees, the leader(s) has favorites, and the leader(s) is perceived as a bully. If I conducted a deeper search on the topic, I’m confident I could add to this list — and it wouldn’t be pretty. We’ve all been subjected to some not-so-great leadership in our lifetimes, to be sure.
But each of those negative traits indicates that the opposite of these that trait would create a powerful, effective leadership team — right? A team with complete confidence in one another’s ability, complete trust in each other, confidence in their employees, and a culture that thrives. Effective teams lead by example and are driven by the cohesive vision of the company.
Every business needs good leadership — but how do you create it? Well, the first step is to incorporate the 3 Be’s, your new to-do list, if you will — Be Vulnerable, Be Knowledgeable, and Be Judgement Free. So, as you read this column, I’m going to give you one more Be to add to your list — Be Open Minded. Implementing these ideas and steps into your organizational culture can give you the advantage you’re missing:
Being vulnerable at work is possible when your trust is driven by the understanding that you are completely comfortable being transparent, honest, and somewhat exposed to each other — and the team is a safe place for that. Your leaders should openly share with each other how they are feeling, why they feel that way, and how to move forward in the business and in their given roles. I know this may sound all touchy-feely, but it’s an important part of building a dynamic leadership team — the foundation of which is trust!
Real trust happens when you know each other in a way that is meaningful, authentic, and powerful. But you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, especially with sharing things you would not typically share.
Here’s an exercise for you to try with your leadership team to open the door for actively developing trust on your team at a new level — I call it “The Leadership 4 Knowledge Trust.” The goal of this exercise is to get each leader to share a little about their life — so we get a glimpse of who they are and get to know them a little better. Ask these 4 questions:
(1) Where were you born?
(2) How many siblings do you have, and where are you in the mix?
(3) What’s the most difficult challenge you experienced in your childhood?
(4) What’s one thing no one really knows about you?
This exercise only takes a few minutes, but the answers usually lead to interesting conversation starters. Yes, there will be skeptics of this, but I wonder if the skeptical are really right for your team? Building trust takes vulnerability and the willingness to share, to listen, to learn, and to grow — that’s leadership.
The most effective teams are the ones who are knowledgeable — about each other! They are the ones who understand the strengths, weaknesses, skill sets, and special talents of each other and use that knowledge to meet collective goals within your organization.
Knowing each other goes far beyond asking a few questions or spending time together. In order to truly unite a team, you have to have continual access to one another and commit to share. And one of the best ways to see how your team melds together is to take a personality assessment. Assessments like Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram, and DISC provide invaluable information to help build a cohesive team and capitalize on each member’s strengths. Your team has to be open about this process, share the results honestly, and make sure each member of the team knows how to work with each other best.
You can do this yourself, but I’d suggest you hire an expert to guide you through this process and help your team understand the power personal knowledge provides. A few weeks ago, I interviewed 2 sales reps from Shaw Contract who recently joined together in a newly formed market and needed to figure out how to best work together — and Myers-Briggs was exactly the tool they used to create their team dynamic. The goals they’ve accomplished within the timeframe they’ve beenw working together came as a direct result of their intentional leadership development. If you want to hear their incredible story in more detail, you can listen to the complete interview on my podcast, The Trend Report, Episode 18.
Be Judgement Free
Judgement is likely the worst characteristic each of us have — and make no mistake, each and everyone of us is guilty of exercising judgement once in a while. We judge people, leaders, politicians, businesses, circumstances, and everything around us. Think about it for just a second — when was the last time you judged something or someone? Who or what was it? Why did you do it?
Answering these questions can be difficult for anyone, but to be the best possible leader — you must first learn to recognize when you’re being judgmental, then you have to release those determinations from your mind, and that’s the hard part. A question I often ask my clients is, “what would the situation look like, or what would the outcome be, if you released the judgement, perhaps the resentment you have around it?” And this question stops people in their tracks. Why? Because they’re being called out on something they likely didn’t realize they were doing.
In a business environment, it’s easy to judge each other quickly, because we interact with so many different people — and usually only discuss business matters (and these days it’s always urgent business). To create an effective, powerful leadership team, you have to remove all judgement of new ideas, new people, and new thought processes and learn to accept each other for who we are, understand how to work best together, and leverage our strengths and bolster our weaknesses.
Building a cohesive leadership team takes time and effort; it’s a time-intensive process. You have to work at it, but before you can do that, you have to want it! You have to step into vulnerability, be willing to listen and learn from your colleagues, get to know them on a new and different level, and learn to value each other — including each other’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas.
If you do this, your leadership team will be strong and unstoppable, which means your company is unstoppable and poised to create the future that is built on trust and one that drives the results you need! To keep this conversation going, please visit my blog at www.sidmeadows.com/blog and share your thoughts.