COHESIVENESS IN A LEADERSHIP TEAM – 5 Steps To Creating Leadership Common Ground
Over the past year or so, more clients are reaching out with briefs which are about wanting to create greater cohesiveness within leadership teams. Business heads and HR Leaders clearly see how critical this is to success in the constantly changing business environment of today.
Established processes and structures although necessary, often create bottlenecks and impede quick decision making and flexibility in execution. With this flux come situations where responsibilities become undefined and grey.
This is where the leadership team needs to step up, take initiative and own this grey. A cohesive well-knit leadership team ensures, by walking the talk, that the culture percolates, down the pyramid where interdependencies of roles play themselves out every day while conducting business and operationalizing plans.
From the several conversations and ideation sessions in such programs I present the following 5 insights as clear actions that a leadership team needs to commit to, to create this cohesiveness and a culture of collaboration amidst differing priorities and diverse responsibilities.
1. Acknowledging Diversity, its source and impact
Cohesiveness comes not from thinking alike but from respecting diversity of thoughts and acknowledging that this diversity is infact a strength, if leaders understand that the source of this difference is not necessarily personality but the very roles that each of the leaders play. Acknowledging diversity in reflected in asking enough questions, openness and non-judgmental communication.
2. Empathy & Patience to drive an Inclusive style of working
The rank and file needs to see that their leadership operate inclusively. Inclusive behaviour is about taking stakeholders along in all decision making. For this to happen, leaders have to demonstrate patience and empathy for other’s points of view and opinions.
3. Foundation of Trust & Respect for Interdependencies
Trust is a result of investment of time and effort in building relationships and engaging with peers beyond just the transactions of work. With trust comes the freedom to take liberties within limits and the belief that each of the leaders is equally invested in the end result. When trust is deep, mutual respect is also real. This creates a foundation from where great things can happen.
4. Identifying commonness of Cultures & behaviour
Each leader, for better or worse, creates a sub culture within his or her team, when leaders works together, it may be difficult to change one’s style of working completely by unlearning what has worked for them. Creating common ground is about identifying common culture and behaviour pillars that they all agree will help the organization at large and subscribing to that culture. A moderated discussion, preferably by an external consultant can help crystalize these culture pillars that all members could commit to as a common charter.
5. Creating a collaborative culture & committing to Shared Ownership
When all of this is acted upon by a leadership team, a collaborative culture emerges as the end result. Conflicts are still bound to occur and grey areas will still pop up. It is at such times that the leaders need to articulate to each other the shared ownership they have to the end goal and constantly put every action of their through a test for Win-Win. If Win-Win is not an end result and the leaders care enough to address these issue early, a strong cohesive leadership team WILL emerge.
In today’s environment a strong cohesive leadership team lead by a people oriented head of business is as important a mission as the organizations Mission statement.