There are times when our approach to team coaching may seem counterintuitive; our prescription might seem contraindicative to your particular issue. The problem your team is encountering just might be a symptom of something deeper. Such was the case with a recent client whose productivity was stunted. But after doing some initial digging, we found that the problem lay elsewhere.
A leadership team must be aligned in their vision.
Why you ask? To be capable of pulling in the same direction.
Checks that this alignment is in place can be determined by asking the following four questions:
There is a significant difference between being a line manager and being the CEO, and the old adage rings trues: “It’s lonely at the top.” The loneliness itself results from the isolation of the position.
This isolation may have a variety of root causes:
- The leader may have risen through the ranks and is now in a position of supervising people who used to be peers.
- The leader cannot share information with their direct reports because many of the decisions directly affect these people.
- The Board of Directors looks to the leader for a recommendation or decision and is not always the best resource for the leader to debate ideas.
Recently, I was called in by a Deputy Minister in the Ontario Public Service and his assistant to support an organizational change initiative. It soon became apparent that what they thought they needed – traditional leadership development – was not going to be as effective as long-term team coaching. The coaching model would allow them to delve deeper into the critical dimensions of what made an effective team.
A typical leadership team resembles a pyramid. The leader is at the top, and executive team members are at the base. It’s the power structure of most organizations in miniature. That hierarchy, however, doesn’t usually work for high performing teams. A high performing team’s structure more often resembles a circle. The leader does not occupy a place of prominence anywhere on the circle; he or she acts much like a member of the team. This kind of team leadership model is used at many levels of NASA (rated #1 for leadership of all American Federal agencies in 2012), and their engineering teams often have no leader at all.