FAQs on Teams and Leadership – Part 4

I have been researching and applying responsible leadership, teamwork, and change for 26 years all over the world, and I often get asked the same questions.

This is the forth post of a 5-part series in which I address the most basic, and the more involved, questions I’m frequently asked about teams, teamwork, and leadership.

In my first, second, and third posts, I answered these questions:

  1. What is a team?
  2. What are the basic principles of teamwork?
  3. Are there different types of teams?
  4. How is a team different than a group?
  5. Who can be on a team?
  6. How does a team form?
  7. Why is trust important to teams?
  8. Can one person make a difference on a team?
  9. What is leadership?
  10. Who can exhibit leadership?
  11. Should teams have an assigned leader?
  12. Shouldn’t the technical expert be designated as the team leader?

Here are my answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the difference between “leadership” and “leader?”
  2. How is a leader different than a manager?
  3. How do I start a team well?
  4. How do I get someone to do what he or she agreed to?

13. What is the difference between “leadership” and “leader?”

Leadership is an emergent behavior that displays responsibility for a problem or opportunity, and mobilizes resources into action thus moving a group closer to its outcome. A “leader” is defined by his/her followers.

14. How is a leader different than a manager?

A leader adroitly faces and disrupts the status quo for the purpose of positive change. A manager ensures that organizational rules and procedures are maintained. The roles are paradoxical. Most managers are not great leaders. Most leaders are not great managers.

15. How do I start a team well?

Use one-on-one, face-to-face, and meeting time to orient the team members. We teach a five-step process:

  • Ensure all team members have shared clarity about what the team is to accomplish. Be specific.
  • Elicit from each team member what’s in it for him/her to be part of this team and its outcome.
  • Establish agreements or ground rules for team member behavior.
  • Invite the team to turn the task into a clear and elevating goal.
  • Discover what each team member brings to this team, and this outcome, this time.

16. How do I get someone to do what he or she agreed to?

Agreements are usually made in good faith. They are more often broken from lack of attention than lack of intention. Use any or all of the following to increase attention to an agreement. At the time the agreement is made or implied:

  • Negotiate to ensure the agreement is sufficiently complete.
  • Clarify and verify understanding on both sides of the agreement.
  • State aloud that you are extending your valuable trust and depending on the other(s).
  • Discuss what you will do if the other(s) don’t keep the agreement.
  • Document the agreement in an e-mail or a letter.

Check back (or subscribe) for the fifth posts that answer these questions:

  1. How do I get someone to trust me?
  2. How do I get meetings to start on time?
  3. How do I work with someone who doesn’t believe in teams?
  4. How do I motivate someone who doesn’t report to me?

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide. For more on topics discussed in this post, consider his executive report Responsible Change, and download the Responsibility Process™ poster PDF in a more than a dozen languages. CEO’s desiring a culture of ownership may want to investigate the proven Managed Leadership Gift Adoption program.




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3 Responses to FAQs on Teams and Leadership – Part 4

  1. Hi Christopher, a small comment: I think leadership is also “systemic” behavior. That is, behavior that is beyond the sum of the parts. The sum of disparate parts would be my understanding of emergent. Systemic connects these different behaviors into something new.

    Perhaps it’s just a subtle pedantic difference. However, for leadership to be effective the core behaviors all need to be there. My absolute minimum set is: 1. Set direction, 2. Execution, 3. People, 4. Self-management.

    Best regards from Switzerland, David

  2. christopher says:

    Hi David, welcome. Yes, we could get pedantic here and I may be doing that right now.

    By emergent, I mean the way people step forward and backyard in a group with contributions, assertions, gifts of energy that propel the group forward, etc. When I say that leadership is emergent, I mean that anyone can provide it at any time.

    I like this story: A 6 year-old boy surveyed the truck that was stuck at the entrance of a tunnel because it was a smidgeon too tall to clear the tunnel. Lots of police and wreckers and others were standing around scratching their heads about how to get it unstuck. The boy looked at one of them and said “let the air out of the tires.”

    If we allow it, this is the way leadership can work.

    Now, I am not sure what to say about your notion of systemic except this: If someone systemically transcends their states of LayBlame, Justify, Shame, Obligation and Quit in order to get to the mental state of Responsibility, then I would agree that leadership can be systemic.

    But a part of me was wondering if you were commenting about “leadership” when you really meant “leader.”

  3. Pingback: FAQs on Teams and Leadership – Part 5 | Christopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ BlogChristopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ Blog

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