Building an Effective Leadership Team
“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — George S. Patton
All of us have worked on teams during our lives and during our careers. In many cases, we were placed on a team for one reason or another, with the expectation that someone knew what they were doing when they put the team together.
What about forming teams? Have you ever had to form a work team or leadership team in your company or organization? How did you do it? Many times the team is formed based on necessity from an organization standpoint. For example, “Well, we need someone from marketing so what about …” Sometimes you don’t have a choice about who is on your team. And still other times you may be able to select your team members, but what criteria do you use in the selection process?
There are many articles out there on building effective teams. An article in Inc Magazine listed criteria for effective teams including having common goals, being able to work collaboratively, having a big picture view, and having competencies such as adequate knowledge, promoting understanding, and facilitation skills. Two suggestions offered by a Forbes Magazine article were to “be aware of how you work,” and “get to know the rest of the team.” Finally, Dr. Marie McIntyre, PH.D., on her Your Office Coach website, identified some “Barriers to Creating a Leadership Team” such as management personalities, conflicting interests, power relationships, and group decision-making.
So, there are initial problems, such as not having the luxury of being able to select members of your choice. Then, even if you do get to select them, you have to be concerned with whether they possess the knowledge, understanding, and competencies that you need, along with personalities that can and will work together and don’t have conflicting interests. Does that pretty well sum it up?
I think we can all agree that it would be beneficial to not only the CEO or business owner, but to everyone on the leadership team if the members knew each other really well. I’m not talking about looking at someone’s resume or LinkedIn account, or going out to lunch with them, or sharing information via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or the hundreds of other social media channels out there. I’m talking about knowing more about what they think. How they solve problems. How they work with people, communicate, and what drives them. What competencies they bring and how they use them. Isn’t that the kind of information that would help you work with that person on a day-to-day basis? Isn’t that the kind of information that a CEO or business owner could find useful in identifying any potential weaknesses on his/her team?
I took a Myers-Briggs personality test a number of years ago from a consultant who worked frequently with the Navy, administering these tests to Navy SEALS. The purpose was to ensure that SEAL teams are not made up of identical personalities but rather personalities that complement each other.
Myers-Briggs is one of the assessments that would be useful for leadership teams. DISC is another good assessment which identifies different behavior styles. Then there are assessments that identify driving forces of motivation and still others that assess soft skills and competencies. All really good information for team members to know about their team members.
Still not convinced? Okay, let’s take a look at TTI Success Insights® TriMetrix DNA assessment. This one assessment identifies behavior style (DISC), motivation, and competencies. Let’s break them down so you can see the kind of information that is provided.
DISC (Behavior) – The assessment measures 12 areas of behavior (i.e., Frequent Interaction with Others, Versatility, Frequent Change, Urgency, People Oriented, Competitiveness, Customer Relations, Following Policy, Consistency, Follow Up and Follow Through, Analysis of Data, Organized Workplace). This results in an assessment of how the person solves problems and challenges, influences others, responds to the environment, and reacts to rules and regulations. Along with that information comes the individual’s value to the organization and ways to communicate with the individual.
Motivation (Driving Forces) – Where DISC analyzes “how” we do what we do, motivation is “why” we do what we do. Eduard Spranger identified six primary types of human motivation. TTI Success Insights® took it a little further and identified 12 driving forces, which are established by looking at each motivator on a continuum with each driving force being on either end. For example, you may be motivated by helping people (Others Motivator), but there is a reason (driving force) why you are motivated by that area. Your driving force would be either Altruistic (Helping for the sake of helping) or Intentional (Helping because you get something out of it). So each of the six motivators have two driving forces associated with each of them (Knowledge (Intellectual/Instinctive), Utility (Resourceful/Selfless), Surroundings (Harmonious/Objective), Others (Altruistic/Intentional), Power (Commanding/Collaborative), Methodologies (Structured/Receptive)). Along with that analysis comes information about how to motivate and manage this individual.
Competencies – This part of the assessment measures 25 competencies and identifies how well developed each of them are. The competencies include Negotiation, Conflict Management, Resiliency, Personal Accountability, Flexibility, Interpersonal Skills, Continuous Learning, Goal Orientation, Influencing Others, Employee Development/Coaching, Understanding Others, Conceptual Thinking, Leadership, Self Starting, Futuristic Thinking, Creativity and Innovation, Appreciating Others, Diplomacy, Project Management, Time and Priority Management, Problem Solving, Teamwork, Planning and Organizing, Customer Focus, and Decision Making.
How valuable would this type of information be to a leader? How valuable would it be to each member of the leadership team? Knowing this type of information helps teams communicate better, solve problems better, resolve conflicts easier, and work together more effectively and efficiently. It also identifies gaps. What if there were no “implementers” on the team? What if there were too many “analyzers”? It’s all about data and information. The more data you have, the more information will result. The more information, the better the resolution. The better the resolution, the better for everyone.
About the Author — Ron Feher is the Chief Improvement Officer at WhiteRock Business Solutions whose mission is to help make small businesses better by making their people better. WhiteRock’s service offerings include Executive Coaching, Manager Mentoring, Candidate/Job Matching, staff/team development, executive and staff recruiting, and career coaching. Ron is a certified professional analyst with TTI Success Insights® and Career Direct, utilizing their assessments to help hire, coach, mentor, and retain top talent and improve team effectiveness and efficiency. WhiteRock is located in Orange County, California and can be found at www.whiterockbusiness.net; or contact Ron (www.linkedin.com/in/ronaldafeher) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (949-466-0943). @RonFeher