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Simon MBA class of 2017 Mike Cardus Team Building and Leadership

In an earlier post, I listed 5 challenges in creating and sustaining team performance.

This post is looking at a change in team leadership.

Changes to Team Leadership

Leading a senior management team requires that a number of tensions be managed on a continuous basis.

Leading a top management team has unique challenges. The leader must help the team set overall direction, boundaries for the organization & make sure the team implements. Doing that some tensions be managed continuously, for example exercising authority to complete tasks versus sufficient autonomy of team members to learn & improve the functions, allocation of team attention between internal versus external challenges.

In crisis team leadership bends towards short-term specification of  “just do it!” The concept of coaching & development is lost in need of do it, do it fast, do it my way.

Senior team leaders become strong & directive in setting agendas, allocating resources, assigning tasks to managers. They become hesitant to use their authority to accomplish what they are accountable for, establishing a clear & engaging direction for the team & the organization. An outcome of this is a team norm to suppress disagreement & conflict among teams & that the top management team cannot shift authority to the people doing the work.

In a crisis, the team leadership’s strength is in mobilizing people to meet external challenges. In the absence of such problems, the senior team leader seems to not know what to do or how to lead. With an inability to define a strategic direction for the management team & organization, the senior team leader needs help in responding to the endless flow of internal challenges.

To bridge from team leadership crisis to stability, often, a new senior team leader has to take over managing the team. They can help by suggesting a concrete, strategic & operational direction for the organization. Once that happens the team can begin to define some next steps, moving the management team into the next stage of team development.