Listen up! Five leadership behaviours

Posted by: on Oct 2, 2013 | No Comments

During the summer I spent some time listening to a book by Patrick Lencioni called The Advantage. Yes, I did listen rather than read. The good thing with listening is that one can at the same time make notes of what one hears. This is a little bit harder to do when reading and both hands are busy with the book.

The first part of the book describes how a leader builds a cohesive leadership team, a team which creates an advantage over competitors. A cohesive leadership team is a team where members are open to each other; they debate passionately and focus on the collective good of the organisation.

What the ‘collective good’ means is that the individual is always inferior to the team. To be a successful member of a leadership team means focusing on what is right for the company at all times rather than focusing on what is right for the individual — easy to say but hard to put into practice. This naturally also goes back to the targets the individuals receive during their appraisal or in their incentive schemes. Leadership team members should not have individual targets, only group targets.

Patrick Lencioni also talks about five behaviours associated with cohesive leadership. The first behaviour is about building trust. This naturally takes time but for a team to function well there must be trust among the team members. If there is no trust, then the leadership team will not function.

Second behavour is about mastering conflict. To agree to disagree is something very powerful in a leadership team. In my own case with my leadership team members, I do not expect my team members to agree with what I say. Absolutely not. But disagreeing is something one does within the team. When decisions are reached, however, they must be accepted and embraced by all team members so that the rest of the organisation sees an aligned leadership team communicating clear messages which all members stand behind.

Third behaviour is about achieving commitment. Once again it is about daring to disagree. If people in a leadership team cannot disagree, commitment cannot be achieved. It is important to let different views be presented and then it is time for the leader to break ties.

Fourth behaviour is about embracing accountability. This can also only happen when there is true commitment. The leadership team must feel accountable for the company goals and objectives. True accountability will create passion for achievements and results. If someone does not feel accountable, how likely is it that the person will passionately work for the common good?

The fifth and final behaviour is about focusing on results. The leadership team must focus on results. The only true measure of a great leadership team is whether or not it accomplishes what it set out to accomplish. If the organisation rarely achieves its goals, the leadership team is not doing the job it should. Look at a sports team. What is it that counts for them? Only results of course. If a football team nearly won or nearly scored they have still lost. Once again, it is all about setting team goals first and individual goals second.


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Foto på Dag Andersson