For an organization to be effective, it is critical for individuals in a senior management group, department, or location to shift their way of being into a collective leadership team. The lack of ability of this group to be unified in action, thought, and vision does negatively affect the health of its organization and staff.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams , 6th President of the United States of America

What does a leadership team need to start?

Effective teams are focused on a common goal such as “Win the World Series”, “Stop the Military Invaders”, or “Create an Awesome Organizational Culture”. Without a common goal, most management groups never become leadership teams. This is unfortunate.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” — Les Brown, Author and Speaker

A few examples of company goal statements:

  • A computer on every desk and in every home. — Microsoft
  • To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. — Tesla
  • To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground. — JetBlue
  • To create a better everyday life for the many people. — IKEA

How does a leadership team advance further?

Teams have agreements to hold each accountable so that all members of that leadership team understand what is expected from their peers and themselves. These agreements are a set of clear behaviours that all members will follow and speak out if the agreements are broken by any member.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” –Michael Jordan, Professional Athlete

Examples of team agreements:

  • Bring up difficult topics, even if I find it challenging.
  • Respect each other and understand differences in perspective.
  • Have agendas sent out in advance for all my meetings.
  • Assume good intentions by those around you.

How does a leadership team create safety before anything else?

A leadership team needs psychological safety for real growth to occur. Without emotional and psychological safety, individuals will be unwilling to be vulnerable in sharing the deep and pressing issues that affect them as an individual as the group as a whole. Without safety, honest feedback is a dream unfulfilled and each voice will not be heard. Deep-rooted problems will destroy any surface level progress.

“Emotional safety is feeling internally secure and confident in your life.”  — Amy Leigh, Author

Examples of emotional safety guidelines:

  • Listen actively and attentively
  • Be curious, no judgement
  • Remaining calm when differing opinions arises

Putting it all Together to Become a Leadership Team

For a group to become a leadership team, it requires a few key elements: #1 — a common goal to accomplish that is both lofty and inspiring, #2 — psychological and emotional safety that allows for all members to share important information about themselves and to show that they truly care about each other, and #3 — a set of expectations that hold each member accountable to outcomes that includes actionable behaviours to model for the organization.

Without all three of these elements present, the group is unlikely to become a leadership team.

Further Reading about Leadership and Positive Culture

The movement from a group to a leadership team is both critical for the success of the organization as well as the well-being of its members. This can be achieved with support and consistent effort.

Enjoy the journey as your group transitions to a leadership team where you will notice positive responses from the staff and your peers. Plus, it will be much easier to get things done.

Paul J. Heidema


Paul J. Heidema

CEO at SparkActa Inc. -- Paul J. Heidema consults, coaches and guides senior management and staff to look for possibilities to improve their results and improve their organization. He leads large-scale organizational transformations to achieve lasting results in: building a culture that supports trust and growth, leadership coaching to mentor others, organizational effectiveness in processes, and systems thinking.

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