Last night during his State of the Union address, President Obama spoke about the special forces who worked as a team to "take out" Osama Bin Laden. His point was that every member of the team was singly focused on successfully completing their dangerous mission. They relied on each other for communication, air cover, and support. When one of the rescue helicopters crashed, they didn't stop and point fingers and blame each other. They covered for each other. They helped each other up the stairs and made sure that every one got out alive. Every member of the team operated with mutual trust.
Backbiting, Leadership Tangles, and the State of the Union
Three Tips for Executive Team Effectiveness
Nothing tangles potential organizational effectiveness than a top leadership team mired in unproductive interpersonal dynamics. These manifest as turf wars, political battles, and hidden agendas. The result is a lack of honesty and an inability to raise tough issues. Bad feelings between two key functional leaders trickle down to the rest of the organization. I once worked with a team in which two senior leaders had a visceral dislike of each other. Direct reports two to three levels down felt the tension, and were in turn mistrustful of each other. The result? Gridlock.
Untangle Leadership Team Knots Through an Extraordinary Game
Think of a leadership team as a web of interconnected relationships. Mix in clashing egos, hidden agendas, and lack of trust. Agitate with different personality and thinking styles. Sprinkle in unproductive norms, power plays, and cultural and gender differences. Throw in a propensity to blame. Complicate matters with a complex business challenge--you know the kind--a frightening new competitor that threatens to eat your lunch, declining market share, a scarcity of cash to invest in needed resources--the kind of challenge that only this team can solve. The problem is, this team is mired in what I call a Strangling Team TangleTM. In almost every tangle, and I have named nearly two dozen distinct tangles, you experience unproductive working relationships, snarled lines of communication, and fuzzy lines of authority. Emotions run high and there is plenty of conflict, blame, and “us versus them” thinking and behavior. Sound familiar?
Leadership Wisdom for Executive Leaders--No Excuses--Tip #3
It is so easy to make excuses when things don't turn out as you planned. How often are you tempted to point the finger of blame? As an executive leadership coach, I have worked with leaders who have gotten in the bad habit of blaming others and are surprised when they don't get the results that they want.
Leadership Wisdom for Executive Leaders—Tip #2
Star leaders give willingly without a price tag attached to what they are giving. They operate from a “full cup” mentality. Their cup is full and they don’t need to take from others to fill theirs up. There is no price tag attached to their requests.
Leadership Wisdom for Executive Leaders--Tip #1
Leadership is both an inside and outside game. In this series of blogposts, I will share leadership wisdom I have gathered and found useful in my own leadership development and what I have observed in my work with executive leaders. As the Tangle DoctorTM, it is my opinion that leaders who create productive, accountable cultures are better able to minimize Organizational TanglesTM –unproductive working relationships, snarled lines of communication, and fuzzy lines of authority-- demonstrate the leadership qualities I will share in a series of blogposts.
What could an executive leadership coach tell Japan's Naoto Kan?
According to John Brinsley, from Bloomberg News, "Three days ago, Prime Minister Naoto Kan was fighting for his political life. Now, the success of his government may hinge on how he responds to what he calls Japan’s biggest crisis since the end of World War II."
Why You Must Start Re-thinking the Way You Communicate Today
Do you realize that every time you speak to peers, direct reports, and Board members, you have the opportunity to transform your relationship? Do you know that you can align your mind, brain, and conversations to create a more productive working relationship?
VUCA Revisited –Volatility Rouses Fear
I recently began teaching in the MBA program at Golden Gate University. Being a full time executive leadership consultant and part-time professor forces me to stay current with leadership research and weave that research into a pragmatic solution for clients and business school students.
Executive Leadership Tip for Thriving in VUCA and Accelerated Change
Last Friday, I facilitated a panel discussion for Fountain Blue's When She Speaks Women in Leadership forum. Approximately 50 women and 3 men attended the discussion about how to thrive in times of accelerated change. Each of the four women on the panel holds a responsible leadership position in Cisco, EMC, IBM, and HP. I was struck by the high level of both technical and interpersonal expertise each demonstrated. I was also struck by the pressures facing each of them, and our audience members. All are challenged to cope under rapid changes in their marketplace and technology. For instance, the advent of the cloud is causing each company to think through their product mix. Companies that used to develop products internally are becoming much more aggressive in looking for start-ups with innovative technology to buy and integrate. Top down, hierarchical management is being replaced with collaborative management.