Leading Teams to Sustainability

Were you ever a member of a team that did not work?  Were you part of the problem because you provoked or avoided conflict within the team?

Teams are constructed to provide deliverables of value to the greater organization.  They can be based on a project, product, or administer a department.  Many of us understand through our experience that the leader is ultimately responsible for the outcome of a team, yet it is the membership that should be called on to guarantee the success of the team (as in the analogy of all hands needed to keep a ship afloat). 

Establishing a team with a defined scope and purpose is a major key determinant of success.  Getting the right members on the right seats of the bus is another determinant.  Most often in practice, it is the leader who sets the direction and membership, and that direction is modified by inputs of team members.  These modifications help build cohesiveness and alignment within the team. 

However, alignment of direction should not be confused with a diversity of viewpoints.  The healthiest and most sustainable teams possess disruptive opinions that challenge ideas and viewpoints when discussed in a constructive manner.  It is the responsibility of the leader to reign in “constructive disruption”  to maintain progress toward team goals.  Sometimes, an outside influence, an HR person or team coach, is helpful to monitor team progress and to help the leader with membership and progress. 

These determinants of alignment and constructive disruption help build and maintain sustainable teams with value-added deliverables.

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