We are one of seven billion people in this world and each one of us sees the world from our own paradigm. This short blog post will examine the dangers of getting imprisoned in a paradigm and the benefits of becoming a prism as prisons are restricting and prisms are reflecting.
For example, when it comes to a decision of buying a family car, each family member would look at the decision from a different paradigm. The father might look at technical performance and fuel efficiency, the mother might look at the spaciousness and colour scheme, the teenage son might look at how classy it looks and how fast it can go and the teenage daughter may not care about any of this. When each family gets prisoned in their paradigm, they will not be able to come out of it to look at the decision from other paradigms, leading to possible misunderstandings, conflicts and even permanent damage to the quality of relationships.
Therefore the question is, how do we get out of the paradigm prison?
The quest for better leadership is still on and will continue to go on forever. One of the reasons for this is the ever-changing mindsets, expectations, challenges and demands presented by the ever-changing world around us.
There are many tools being used to create better Team Leadership and the next few blogs from me will analyse different tools and methodologies available to create better team leadership.
Let’s first see what is ‘Team Leadership’. Is it the same as or different to ‘Leadership’? Leadership can be used in many situations and ‘Team Leadership’ is an art of leading a team as against leading an individual or a set of individuals.
Team leadership has the following challenges that require the responses indicated.
1. Objectives of the team – The larger, more complex and the more challenging the objectives of the team, the type of ‘Team leadership’ differs. It will require skills such as making the team see the big possibilities, making the team believe in their collective ability to achieve the objectives, and it requires aligning the team under a common plan to achieve the objectives.
2. Size of the team – The larger the team is, the less time the team leader has to provide for each team member, the larger the team is, the more complex will be the relationship issues, the larger the team is, the more effort it will take to keep the team motivated. Appointing a few deputy leaders who take over responsibilities for smaller teams within the team and having more team interactions than individual interactions can overcome this.
3. Diversity of the team: The more diverse the team is, more the differences of opinions will be, more the potential conflicts will be and this will require more involvement of the team leader. Proactively helping team members understand each other through team building exercises and radical conversations, selecting the right mix of team members for various projects and investing more time on participative planning and briefing will help overcome this challenge.
4. Resources available (or not available): The resources available or not available for the team in relation to the tasks at hand can pose a challenge to the leader. The leader should use Continuous Improvement techniques such as Kaizen to get the team working together to make the most of existing resources.
5. Conflicts in the team – A team leader will lead different levels of conflicts in the team. Therefore it is important for the leader to be a good listener, mediator and counsellor using techniques from mainstream psychology, transactional analysis and Neuro Linguistic Programming to prevent, defuse or resolve such conflicts.
You have just boarded a plane which is already 4 hours late after being given hope that it was going to take off earlier many times resulting in multiple visits to the boarding gate and back to the waiting lounge. Then you sit in the air craft for one more hour without the air conditioning working and no proper explanation from the crew for the reason for the delay. After one hour you are asked to de-plane as there is a technical problem in the aircraft. A further 3 hours wait biting into a sandwich provided by the airline with no clear apology for the delay. Attempts to find out about connecting flights falling on deaf years of annoyed ground staff. Back on the plane that thank fully moves. But it stops again. Pilot announces that we are waiting behind 7 other aircrafts to take off as we had missed our original slot. And finally the plane takes off after a 9 hour delay.
In this situation why do you think things went wrong? Who could have fixed it? Check-in manager? Pilot? head of Engineering? The CEO? Perhaps not anyone of them! Could it be all of them, if they had worked as one team? There could be individual hero’s who would have tried to make the passengers comfortable, speed up the boarding process etc. but it takes a team to make the difference.
Therefore it is clear we need teams when it is difficult for a group of people together to deliver a goal.
If you see similarities of the above situation in your workplace, perhaps you need to assess the quality of team work. Given below are the qualities of a great team. Rate your team against each of these qualities on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being poor to 5 being excellent.
We have burning Platforms that unifies team. Rating: _____
A burning platform is a critical task that needs to get done before a crucial dead line that requires real teamwork. EG: Getting the ERP system running before the beginning of the next financial year. Getting the new product into the market before the heavy buying season. John F Kennedy created a burning platform when he said lets get a man on the moon safely in a decade from now!
There is clarity about our critical goals. Rating: _____
If our goals are clear we know what we should do and should not do. When the British rowing team was preparing for the Olympics and had to make a decision they asked the question, ‘will this make the board go faster?’ This helped them to turned down dinner invitations and even attend the opening ceremony.
We have clearly agreed ways of working: _____
There are 4 possible ways of working based on the responsibilities and roles of the team. These levels include strategic, tactical, operational and interactive. It is important for the team to have clarity and alignment regarding this and to know which other related teams operates in which way with clarity of the interface relationships.