Yesterday and today I am offering a couple ideas to accelerate team greatness. Yesterday, my post focused on functional and cross-functional teams. Today, I have a few things to say about management and leadership teams.
Is Your Management Team Healthy?
(Explanation of terms: when I say management team, I am also saying leadership team. If you are a regular reader, you know I don´t split these into two groups of people.)
Every position is important, but I am convinced that the management team, when looked at collectively, is the best determining factor of a company´s success or failure. A great management team will help each member make better decisions and will generate more ideas for moving the company forward. They will handle difficult business times (when making good decisions is most critical) better, too.
A great management team is a team of individuals. A diversity of thought and independent thinking is healthy. Group think is not healthy.
Companies have several opportunities to improve the effectiveness and talent of their management team(s):
– When hiring new managers/leaders. It is not enough to select someone who will be a great fit for the function. He or she should also be able to add to the skills, talents, and efficacy of the management team with which he or she will belong.
– When the company is preparing to grow. This is a great time for the management team to realign its purpose and build the team.
– When the company is facing hard times. This is an important time to ensure that the management team is doing its best work – the future of the company could be at stake (it´s always at stake).
– When things get too comfortable. Is the company grooving along just fine? Sometimes we do our worst thinking and work when times are the best.
How to Assess Management Team Health:
Here´s what I look for.
Indications of a Healthy Management Team (MTM is short for Management Team Member):
Each MTM is committed to the success of each other member.
Each MTM is comfortable having other MTMs represent her/him.
MTMs share a fundamental good will toward each other.
MTMs feel a good will toward the company.
MTM don´t stand by and watch another members make major mistakes.
MTMs feel able to influence each other.
Each MTM is willing to be influenced by other MTMs.
Leadership changes with the subject.
Each MTM believes that winning as a team is more important than personal or functional wins.
The organizational vision is known and shared.
Business objectives are clearly defined.
The "modelï¿½? of high performance is known and shared.
Standards are high in all functions and reflected in selection, placement, and promotions. MTMs hold each other to these high standards.
MTMs insist on appropriate peer level and upward coaching.
MTMs feel a responsibility to express individual opinions, concerns, and ideas. Together, MTMs expect and support lively dialogue.
MTMs understand and embrace their overarching role as guardian of long term corporate interests.
OK, so you think I am dreaming? Perhaps. But this is what all management teams should shoot for.
Want to know how your management team stacks up? Create an anonymous self-assessment from these statements and check the pulse of the group. Ask your in-house OD folks to help out with this or get an external facilitator to administer the survey, interpret the results, then facilitate a conversation about the results with the management team. Doing this can make a HUGE difference and I have seen managers completely change their perspective on things (for the better).
If you are not up for this conversation yet, then try these ideas:
1. Improve the management team dialogue. Assess meeting quality, frequency, and purpose. Re-invent staff meetings. See my post on this here.
2. Commit to and follow-through on periodic management team development.
3. Take the initiative to be the model MTM. Engage your peers more and become the poster boy/girl for trustworthiness. I have two chapters devoted to this in my book.
4. Only hire "rock stars!ï¿½?
5. Focus on being able to answer, "Yes,ï¿½? to these statements: The organizational vision is known and shared. Business objectives are clearly defined.