When it comes to leadership in today’s fast-paced, interconnected world, there’s no question that the only constant we should expect is change. It’s a reality that came to mind recently after I announced my decision to resign my position as the chairman of the Governing Board at our regional high school in order to run as a candidate in the upcoming school board elections for the chairman of the school board position.
Since making this news public, I’ve found myself reflecting on the past 3 terms that I’ve served as the Governing Board chairman, and the wonderful opportunity I had to be able to serve such a great team.
Of course, great teams are not simply a product of the various people who comprise the group. It is also the result of the actions and words of the group’s leader who understands how to tap into the collective talents, insights, and experiences of the various team members, and direct those elements towards a common goal or shared purpose.
As I look back back at my experiences leading this Governing Board team, I want to share three tactics I used which not only helped to strengthen our team cohesion, but which has built the foundation that has allowed our team to be a productive and thriving one over these past three years.
1. Build relationships to understand the needs of those you serve
One of the interesting challenges that came with serving as the chairman of this Governing Board was the fact that the team members changed every year as different teachers, students, and parents came on board to represent their segment of our school community.
So while our long-term goals might have remained constant, how we viewed them and what routes we thought were best to achieve them would naturally change and evolve as the team dynamics changed with the departure and arrival of various board members.
Consequently, one of the things I always made a point to do at the start of each mandate was Click here to continue reading »”How Successful Leaders Build Teams That Thrive”
The following is a guest piece by Karin Hurt.
You’re got a brilliant idea to transform the business. Or maybe you’re just trying to stop the stupid train from rolling over the great work your team has done over the last year. You make your case to your boss, but she’s not convinced. What next?
There’s the camp that would say back down, after all that’s why she get’s paid the “big bucks.” Be a bobble head and nod in agreement– after all, push-back could hurt your career.
The kissing-up sort would take it a step further and remind the boss how brilliant she is for setting you straight. Sadly, I’ve seen such fear-based agreement happen at all levels of the business.
Real leaders take a step back and get serious about the persuading.
Why It’s Tricky
It’s possible your idea is brilliant and your boss needs some real persuading. In that case if you “let it go” your customers, employees or shareholders would truly suffer.
On the other hand, your boss may really know best.
In either case, it’s likely she… Click here to continue reading »”The Delicate Art Of Persuading Your Boss”
The following is a guest piece by HBR columnist (and fellow Canadian) Liane Davey.
I am a strong believer that the scarcity of high performing teams is due to our inability and unwillingness to engage in productive conflict. Often, the problem is too little conflict: teams filled with passive-aggressive members who would rather take their gripes underground. Sometimes, the problem is a dysfunctional or even vicious group who spend all their energy going back and forth instead of moving forward.
So if no conflict is a sure path to oblivion, but too much conflict is equally risky, how do we avoid going from ditch to ditch and instead find a path to productive conflict somewhere in the middle? The secret lies in changing your assumptions.
First, let’s start with a little experiment. Imagine the person on your team who rubs you the wrong way. This is someone you just don’t see eye-to-eye with. Somehow all of your interactions with this person are tense and uncomfortable—even over the most innocuous thing. Can you picture that person? Now I want you to imagine receiving this email from them… Click here to continue reading »”The Secret To Better Conflict”
When it comes to discussions on leadership, there are certain constants or inevitable statements that you’re likely to come across. One of the most common of these stems from the ongoing debate over whether culture is more important than strategy in terms of the organization’s long-term success and viability.
Unfortunately, the popularity of debating the merits of one tactic over the other has recently given rise to a whole new set of either/or scenarios where leaders are encouraged to adopt one approach at the expense of the other. To date, some of the either/or scenarios I’ve seen debated include:
- vision vs. strategy
- knowledge vs. action
- people vs. results
- thinking vs. doing
- managing Millennials vs. every other workplace generation
Of course, it’s understandable why there’s a growing appeal for this approach – given the increasing complexity of leading organizations in today’s interconnected global economy, it’s only natural that we want to find quick answers to help us navigate these often choppy waters.
And yet, the problem with these zero-sum models is that they not only misdirect our focus from more urgent issues, but they also create more harm than good for the following reasons:
1. It overlooks the dualistic nature of these approaches
I’ve read recently a few articles where people have argued that the fast-pace of today’s market demands less focus on knowledge and thinking and more on action and doing. Of course, it’s easy to argue for a take-charge bravado when you’re not leading an organization still suffering from risk aversion thanks to the difficulties faced over the last few years.
That’s not to say that we need to do the inverse – of waiting until we have all our ducks in a row before we release our collective efforts out into the world. Rather, it means Click here to continue reading »”Leading Through The Power Of “And””