When Teams Collide, Send for the Glue that Mends: Strong Leadership

It’s easy to give lip service to the need for strong leadership, but the hard work it takes to build a truly strong leadership base is much more difficult. Companies large and small confront situations daily that put their business at risk because teams of people are at odds. The scenario becomes a game of ‘What’s My Agenda?’ without a central purpose.

Don’t confuse strong leadership with muscle. This is strength of mind, purpose, goals and hopefully, happy customers.

While there are different kinds of teams and different kinds of team challenges, the goals are usually the same – to win! Whether it’s gaining a new client, coming in first place in a company team challenge, or proving worthy of new venture capital – it’s all about winning.

So what does it take and what is the difference in winning teams and winning team leadership?

There’s a fairly well accepted consensus that looks something like this.

What do effective leaders do to win?

  • They clearly define the role of each team member based on his/her expertise.
  • They communicate openly, honestly and clearly to avoid ambiguity in their message.
  • They are confident influencers and purposeful, instilling confidence in the team.
  • They facilitate action plans and help team members understand their goals.
  • They delegate, sharing leadership with trustworthy team members.
  • They are organized in their thinking and actions, defining strategies and objectives.
  • They are respectful, empowering team members by encouraging ideas and input.
  • They maintain fairness among team members, balancing reward and recognition.
  • They promote integrity by example and gains trust and respect from team members.
  • They are compassionate with a balanced sense of respect for humanity.
  • They know how to negotiate on behalf of the team in decision making or conflict.
  • They are fun to be with and openly share a sense of discovery and humor.
  • They are not afraid to change directions when something clearly isn’t working.

What do effective teams do to win?

  • They share knowledge and ideas central to the team’s success.
  • They agree to disagree and know where to draw the line.
  • They listen and wait their turn to be heard.
  • They are solution-centric problem solvers.
  • They are on time for team meetings and events.
  • They stay on task and avoid going off on tangents.
  • They respect others privacy and don’t over-socialize at work.
  • They understand and comply with rules of a shared workspace.
  • They value their responsibility to protect confidential information.
  • They are decision makers based on their area of expertise.
  • They are creative innovators who bring new perspectives to the team.
  • They communicate well in person, via email or in print.
  • They take time to evaluate other ideas that don’t instantly align with their own.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a survey in 2013 which states what employers say they want most from new hires. In order of importance, here they are:

  1. Ability to work in a team
  2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems
  3. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
  4. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
  5. Ability to obtain and process information
  6. Ability to analyze quantitative data
  7. Technical knowledge related to the job
  8. Proficiency with computer software programs
  9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports
  10. Ability to sell and influence others

Witmer Group is interested in hearing what you have to say about team leadership and team building. You’re invited to send us your story on how you made a situation better, how your team devised a winning plan, or how you dealt with a particular team challenge. Share what you’ve learned with us and we’ll spread the word.