Thursday, July 16, 2015

Six Things Great Leadership Teams Do

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?

2. Engagement
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. Validation
Do 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 Leadership
Who 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. Consensus
Do 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 Action
Is 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


Anonymous said...

Great post Chris! When I write about cybersecurity leadership, I often focus on the breakdown of alignment and purpose as leading causes of cybersecurity leadership failure.

Each of your six elements are key to operational readiness in today's Internet connected businesses.

Thanks for taking the time to write this.

Zach said...

Great article. I loved the leadership teams are really just group mentality. I found that this has been the best type of leadership teams you can have. I appreciated the engagement section. So many times we lose focus and centrality by not being engaged. Leadership teams must be engaged at all times. In any case, keep up the great work!!

Zach Shore

chris-edmonds said...

Thanks so much, Cale & Zach! Effective leadership teams are a hugely important component of organizational success, service, & results - glad I "scratched the itch" for you both.



chris-edmonds said...
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