Leadership in the current world of work does not rest on the shoulders of any one individual, but is the responsibility of leadership teams. Warren Bennis (Organising Genius: The secrets of Creative Collaboration) explains that this does not mean that we no longer need strong leaders. Instead, the paradigm today is about “great leaders who exist in fertile relationship with a Great Group.” It is in this kind of “creative alliance” that leader and team are able to co-create much more than any could achieve alone. Certainly, some people find it easier and more enjoyable to work in teams than others do, but all can develop these fundamental business competencies to a deeper level.
The primary task facing every new team is to transform itself from a group into a team, a team with the features that will enhance its functioning and secure success at a world class level. Bennis goes on to explain that successful teams are able to achieve true collaboration where “the only rules and procedures are those that advance the common cause”. An important indicator of this state of true collaboration is that working in the team becomes pleasurable for the individual members.
Under ordinary circumstances it takes time for groups of people to come together and learn how to function in a truly collaborative manner. The highly competitive and demanding culture of nearly all contemporary companies often creates divisive pressures within teams. In many cases groups of people with extraordinary potential to create world class teams fail because they do not have the time and/or the expertise to make the transformation. Important new disciplines are emerging within both the business and psychological literature that deal with the creation, development and maintenance of great leadership teams. This research and theory underlies the interventions offered by us.
While it is impossible and inappropriate to summarise that literature in this proposal, it is helpful to look at the Five Key Team Dysfunctions as introduced by Pat Lencioni. These are illustrated in the following diagram:
These five dysfunctions are predictable obstacles in the development of teams operating under pressure. Our interventions build the competencies necessary to avoid these dysfunctions into the team process and functioning.