Over my career I have seen both effective and ineffective executive teams. Working for an effective leadership team ensures that things run more smoothly in the organization, communication is clear and decisions get made pretty quickly. The ineffective teams can cause major issues in productivity, lack of trust, slow decision making, confusion and poor morale. These type of issues at an executive level are magnified and the ripple effects are felt across the organization.
Part of the challenge of an executive team is that there is a lot of competition and most likely similar personality styles. One executive told me “that there is a reason that say that is lonely at the top. I can’t really trust my peers or my boss too much. If I try to bring up issues where I need their help, they will see it as a sign of weakness and find ways to move me out or take over my responsibilities.” There needs to be a conscious effort to bring an executive team together to ensure that there is trust, accountability and that they will stand for each other’s success. It is already a challenging effort as an executive leader of a group, but constantly watching over your shoulder for your competition just makes it worse.
One of the best books I have read on teams is called The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. It takes you through an example of an executive leadership team that worked through these types of challenges. You will see that it is not easy to drive this type of change, but it is extremely necessary to have a successful organization.
A great article by Peter Barron Stark called the 10 Traits of a Great Executive Team identifies the traits needed to create a high performing executive team. How does this list compare with the experiences you have had with an executive team in the past or are having right now? Are there changes that could be made to improve things?
It is not easy to make these changes and they will take a lot of time and effort. The leader will need to make tough decisions to get to a better place. The team will need to put in some hard work to build trust with each other. Being a high performing team is not only good for them, but for the benefit of the entire organization.
Are you looking to create a high performing team? Would you like my help? I have successfully helped many teams move from being dysfunctional to becoming very effective. I can come into your organization to assess, facilitate leadership development sessions and coach your team to success. Just reply this email and we can set up time to discuss the best way for me to help your team!