Is your leadership team as effective as it could be?
My colleagues and I have recently noticed an increase in demand for team effectiveness facilitation and development. We’ve been doing a lot of work with boards and senior leadership teams on effectiveness and team performance, and it’s given us pause for thought.
Why, right now, are we experiencing this demand? I believe one key factor is our emergence from a global pandemic. We’ve gone from working in a virtual space back to the office, and we’re simply not as used to operating in-person or in a team capacity as we once were. We may be working in a team of people we haven’t even met.
We’ve also become used to challenging each other in video meetings, but it’s vastly different in a boardroom.
To take it a step further, I would say that we’ve seen more conflict in teams for this reason. People have simply been more willing to challenge each other when sitting behind a computer, and when that’s translated into real life, it can lead to unproductive conflict.
Statistics showing that online collaboration tools are a force for good abound. According to one survey, 83% of professionals depend on technology to collaborate. And I absolutely agree - digital tools are essential to collaboration in our modern workplace.
But they can’t take the place of creating an effective team when you’re all in the same room.
Why focusing on team effectiveness is important
There are a number of reasons why focusing on team effectiveness is important, especially at senior level amongst teams that will drive the whole business forward.
As I’ve mentioned, one reason is simply that teams aren’t spending enough time face-to-face in order to work on how to be effective. In a hybrid environment, it’s easy for teams to drift.
Secondly, the recent and current jobs market has seen a lot of movement at senior level. You’ve probably got a number of new team members, and they naturally don’t know each other all that well. (At the opposite end of the spectrum, however, you may have a team that has worked together for years and has become insular or too inward-facing.)
Added to that, the pace of modern business makes it harder to build relationships and trust. It’s tempting to focus on the day-to-day, whatever is right in front of you or something that’s taking priority at a given time, rather than taking a step back and focusing on your team as a collective. But relationships and trust are key to effective teams - with that in place, everything works more smoothly.
You may also be finding that as the age profile of your senior leadership team is shifting, with millennials coming through to take on more senior roles, the way they think and lead is different to baby boomers. This plays out through different leadership and communication styles underpinned by potentially conflicting values.
Finally, working on team effectiveness is crucial for effective cross-cultural collaboration. If your team is made up of people from different countries and backgrounds, how do you understand and leverage these differences if you aren’t coming together as a team to focus on the people as well as the ‘work’?
6 benefits to your organisation of strong senior team effectiveness
It’s of course important for individuals to focus on how effective they can be themselves, and when this principle is applied to a senior leadership team as well, it provides a host of benefits:
2. In a similar vein, senior teams have to put on a united front. If there are challenges or unhelpful conflicts between senior leaders, this can have a negative impact throughout the business.
3. An effective team is agile and flexible and can react quickly to change. This ability can be the difference between staying ahead of the competition or being left behind.
4. A senior team in which everyone feels comfortable sharing their voice can bring together fresh perspectives, different opinions and challenge the way you do things. In turn, this can help shape new ideas, bring about innovation and drive growth.
5. A strong leadership team with a good reputation can help to attract the right talent to your business.
6. A high-performing team sets the direction and provides value for your whole organisation.
How Hanover can help you build effective senior teams
Whether it’s me, one of my colleagues at Hanover or anyone else, an external, independent facilitator with no agenda and an outside perspective is always beneficial when you’re working on team effectiveness, especially at senior level.
At Hanover, we’ve developed an eight-step team development process that leads to high performance. Using our deep experience of working with hundreds of senior leaders and their teams, we always apply these steps in a tailored way that maps to your context. Underpinning this process is the need to revisit, refocus and renew over time - increasing team effectiveness isn’t a one-off.
Get in touch with me today to find out more about team development training and how I can help your senior teams become more effective.