Organizations go to great lengths to recruit highly talented, successful executives to fill key leadership positions. Yet, all too often, these executives fail to function effectively as a team when brought together. Why? The answer frequently centers on a few of the same recurring problems. Here are eight of them that I’ve encountered on consulting assignments where I’ve been asked to help diagnose and turn around poorly performing executive teams:
- Failure to keep peers informed of relevant issues and to handle inter-department conflicts
- Absence of open and vigorous debate at executive meetings to resolve obstacles
- Harboring and not addressing personal resentments
- Undermining/not supporting leadership team decisions
- Placing personal and department interests above what’s best for the organization
- Difficulty in dealing with the leadership styles of other executives
- Lack of emotional intelligence
- Unwillingness or inability of the top executives to recognize and address organizational dysfunction
These aren’t the kinds of problems that get fixed through team-building exercises. Rather, they require an “up, down, across the organization” approach that focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of each executive team member through behavioral intelligence (BI) assessments, mini-360s, emotional intelligence (EI) training and departmental mini-surveys to identify areas of conflict. Many of my past blog entries have talked about these tools in more depth. I encourage you to read them and call me if you would like to discuss further.
As I’ve always stressed, without the necessary levels of commitment, accountability and open dialog to address these behaviors, progress will be severely stymied. A lot to think about, and you can start by asking the tough question: How does your leadership function as a team?