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Preventing Team Dysfunction is a Primary Concern of a Great Leader 

Not all groups of individuals comprise a true team. Even when managers talk about “my team” often this is really only a group of individuals performing similar, but not necessarily inter-related work, who all happen to report to the same individual.

As I have often said in my leadership development programs: “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people working together towards a shared outcome who trust and respect each other.

Preventing team dysfunction is a primary concern of a great leader. This often requires an unbiased assessment of individual actions and motives, as well as keen eyes and ears for the early warning signals shown in Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team model.  

Trust and respect among team members, and between the team leader and team members, is critical. Relationships and trust between team members far outweigh immediate results. After all, if the trust is gone, future collaboration and working partnerships will simply not happen.

Great leaders excel at creating and maintaining high-performing cohesive teams, which are characterized by:

  • Utilization of the diverse skills, knowledge, and experience of all team members.
  • Alignment around mutually agreed upon common objectives and goals.
  • Robust conversations and debates on critical issues that lead to high-quality decisions.
  • Individual and group accountability.
  • Learning from mistakes.
  • Fixing problems by looking for solutions, not blame.

As mentioned in the previous post on Leading Teams and People, great leaders know that sustainable, repeatable, replicable success results from collaborative, collective, and engaged efforts. This is why great leaders concentrate on the people side of success, including motivation, team building, the interpersonal skills of team members, group recognition, and group rewards.

What else do great leaders do? Please add your thoughts in the comments box below.

This article is excerpted from my book Great Leadership Words of Wisdom, which is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats and has over 1000 quotes on leadership from global business leaders, statesmen, athletes, coaches, sages, and philosophers.

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