Guest post from regular contributor S. Chris Edmonds:
When I consult with executives on crafting a high performance, values-aligned culture, one of the first things I do is to examine the effectiveness of their leadership team.Whatever that team is called - an executive team, a leadership team, a management team, etc. - that core team must model, reinforce, coach, and drive their desired culture. They must act with one mind, one heart, and one voice to create an engaging, productive work environment.
Most leadership teams I observe are not teams at all. Most are groups whose members focus on their functional team’s needs, not the organization’s needs! Members of the leadership group battle their peers daily for limited funds, resources, and people, day in and day out.That’s no way to create a high performing, values-aligned organization.
Over my 25 years of coaching executives and leadership teams, I’ve found six consistent things that effective, inspiring leadership teams do. They include:1. Purpose
Do leadership team members move beyond their functional duties and embrace leadership team membership as a separate and equally important role? Do they act as committed, responsive members of the executive team to present a united voice on how the organization operates, not just how it performs? Do they willingly engage with their team peers in strategic discussions and plan how to inspire aligned behavior across the company’s leaders and associates?
Do they set aside their functional activities so they are fully present for their leadership team conversations? Do they inform their staff that they are not to be interrupted during the team meetings with functional activities and issues? Do they set aside their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and spreadsheets and focus fully on the discussion “in the moment”?
3. ValidationDo they validate peers’ ideas, efforts, and accomplishments frequently? Do they pay attention to the nuances of the discussions - and dig deeper when a potential issue is raised? Do they ask everyone to participate so quieter members are given the floor to provide their comments, insights, or questions?
4. Shared LeadershipWho facilitates the team's discussions? Who drives for decisions to be made? If all members are comfortable doing that, it’s a clear indication of trust, respect, and validation.
5. ConsensusDo discussions end with members proactively summarizing options, making recommendations, and end with a clear, mutual, firm decision or action being made? If consensus is not being reached, do all members engage in the discussion to reach consensus quickly?
6. Aligned ActionIs there clear agreement by everyone on what the decision is and what that decision will require of team members? Do members volunteer to take responsibility? Do members challenge each other to greater targets and challenge each other when a member doesn’t do what they said they would do?
When leadership teams demonstrate these approaches consistently, the team is able to gather relevant data, decide confidently, communicate effectively, and hold each other accountable for team responsibilities.Only when a leadership team acts with one mind, one heart, and one voice will they effectively inspire their organization to top performance, cooperative interaction, and inspired service.
How well does your leadership team model these factors? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.
S. Chris Edmonds is a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. He’s the CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group. After a 15-year career leading and managing teams, Chris began his consulting company in 1990. Since 1995, Chris has also served as a senior consultant with The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Amazon best sellers The Culture Engine and Leading At A Higher Level with Ken Blanchard. His blog posts, podcasts, assessments, research, and videos can be found at http://drivingresultsthroughculture.com.