Looking towards building a strong ELT Leadership Team

Through many hours of conversation with Board members and ELT members I have been exploring the concept of leadership in a community dedicated to consensus. I know I have personally shied away from being a leader due to fear about this apparent conflict. And yet, I believe that building consensus and leadership not only can go hand in hand, they must. So I am working on exploring taking on the mantle of leadership in ELT. To that end, I've been looking at the issues of buy-in at the Board level, how to foster collaboration, communication, accountability, commitment et cet errrrrrahhhhhh . . .

Found a summary I thought was interesting to share:

Five Dysfunctions of a Team
There is an excellent book on leadership called "the Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni.
Although it is presently a hot topic in the business community, they could have filled in "SAR Team" in the applications and had it every bit as meaningful.
This is a summary, taken from the book, with additional info copied below:
The first dysfunction is an ABSENCE OF TRUST among team members. Essentially, this stems from their unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group. Team members who are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes and weaknesses make it impossible to build a foundation of trust.
This failure to build trust is damaging because it sets the tone for the second dysfunction: FEAR OF CONFLICT. Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. Instead they resort to veiled discussions and guarded moments.
A lack of healthy conflict is a problem because it ensures the third dysfunction of a team: LACK OF COMMITMENT. Without having aired their opinions in the course of passionate and open debate, team members rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions, though they may feign agreement during meetings.
Because of this lack of real commitment and by-in, team members develop an AVOIDANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY, the fourth dysfunction. Without committing to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviors that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.
Failure to hold one another accountable creates the environment where the fifth dysfunction can thrive. INATTENTION TO RESULTS occurs when team members put their individual needs (such as ego, career development, or recognition) or even the needs of their decisions above the collective goals of the team.

Dysfunction 1: Absence of trust. In the context of building a team, trust is the confidence among team members that their peers' intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group. Members of teams with an absence of trust: conceal their weaknesses and mistakes from one another, hesitate to ask for help or provide constructive feedback, fail to recognize and tap into one another's skills and experiences, etc. The most important action that a leader must take to encourage the building of trust on a team is to demonstrate vulnerability first. This requires that a leader risk losing face in front of the team, so that subordinates will take the same risks themselves.
Dysfunction 2: Fear of conflict. All great relationships, the ones that last over time, require productive conflict in order to grow. Teams that engage in productive conflict know that the only purpose is to produce the best possible solution in the shortest period of time. They discuss and resolve issues more quickly and completely and they emerge from heated debates with no residual feelings or collateral damage. Ironically, teams that avoid ideological conflict often to so in order to avoid hurting team members' feelings, and then end up encouraging dangerous tension. When team members do not openly debate and disagree about important ideas, they often turn to back-channel personal attacks, which are far nastier and more harmful than any heated argument over issues. Fear of conflict results in "artificial harmony".
Dysfunction 3: Lack of Commitment. The two greatest causes of the lack of commitment are the desire for consensus and the need for certainty. Great teams understand the danger of seeking consensus, and find ways to achieve buy-in even when complete agreement is impossible. They understand that reasonable human beings do not need to get their way in order to support a decision, but only need to know that their opinions have been heard and considered, which then creates a willingness to rally around whatever decision is ultimately made by the group. Great teams also realize it is better to make a decision boldly and to be wrong-- and then change direction with equal boldness-- than it is to waffle.
Dysfunction 4: Avoidance of Accountability. This results in low standards. The essence of this dysfunction is the unwillingness of team members to tolerate the interpersonal discomfort that accompanies calling a peer on his or her behavior and the more general tendency to avoid difficult conversations. Members of great teams improve their relationships by holding one another accountable, thus demonstrating that they respect each other and have high expectations for one another's performance.
Dysfunction 5: Inattention to results. Every good organization specifies what it plans to achieve in a given period, and these goals make up the majority of near-term, controllable results. For some members, merely being part of the team is enough to keep them satisfied. For them, the achievement specific results might be desirable but not necessarily worthy of great sacrifice or inconvenience. Others may focus on enhancing their own positions or career prospects at the expense of the team. A team that is not focused on results stagnates and fails to grow; it loses achievement-oriented members and is easily distracted.

Anyway, looking forward to Saturday.


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