Are you one of the team?
We hear a lot about creating an ethos of ‘one team’ and collaboration these days and that’s a great thing though often requiring developmental support of one type or another. Generally speaking it’s collaboration within a team or between departments/teams that’s being sought in a bid to increase the flow of information, contribute to problem solving, improve innovation, ease communication eliminate duplication and so on. But what about collaboration between a leader and their team. Nothing to examine there I hear you say…
But hang fire just a bit. There are too many examples of where team leaders ask for development support to improve their team function without committing themselves into the necessary development process. They may, in some cases, turn up physically to participate in development interventions. In others they list a whole lot of issues and expect an external consultant to ‘fix them’ and get disillusioned when it doesn’t happen or walk away when the going gets too tough.
When thinking about the definition of a team we need always to include the team leader in that process and to examine the dynamic between the team leader and members of the team. This requires the leader to commit some ‘skin into the game’ – emotionally, developmentally and in time and attention.
Creating a one team ethos is not about ‘the other guys’ getting their act together. It requires the leader to show courage, vulnerability and openness to examine how they show up in the team, where they do or don’t follow through on commitments and the role modelling that’s required to build the one team. There’s a need to reflect on how they hold themselves apart in terms of their positional or hierarchical role without creating a ‘them and us’ sense whilst at the same time getting alongside the team and supporting from within and as part of the whole.
The principle of the leader seeing themselves just as much a part of the problem and the solution as other team members in creating a ‘one team’ ethos is vital. The willingness to examine their own relationships, behaviours and patterns and their impact and then commit themselves to make the necessary adjustments wherever feasibly possible is a powerful part of achieving the one team reality.
As team leaders reflecting on team performance it may be worth taking some time to consider how and where we show up within that team, the impact we have on the performance we’re seeking and how well we are walking the tightrope of simultaneously leading and being alongside.