Leadership Skills: 5 More Secrets to Shared Purpose

In my most recent post, I shared 5 secrets with you that help the best leaders achieve a team that operates with a shared purpose.

But I have even more secrets I know to be true after working with leaders all over the world for so many years — here are 5 additional ones.

6. Know your most powerful team member.
Your most powerful team member isn’t the team leader. Or the most inspired team member. Or even the smartest member.

The uncomfortable truth is, the most powerful team member is the least-invested member, as his lack of commitment establishes a low baseline to which other team members may fall. Accept this sad-but-true principle and address motivation issues early, directly, and regularly.

7. Understand and honor the definition of consensus.
Consensus is not about being nice, nor is it about the majority beating up the minority until the minority withdraws. It is a 100 percent agreement to move forward together.

For your team to achieve consensus, you must know what to do when there is a difference of opinion, including silencing the majority and giving dissenters a voice.

8. Become a “fast team” by knowing how to arrive at decisions quickly.
Your team can achieve high-velocity decision making by

  • considering more alternatives and generating them together
  • involving more people and more points of view
  • communicating and integrating with other parts of your organization; drawing on the wisdom of the “gray-hairs”
  • and establishing the importance of collective action by agreeing that getting a result and learning from it together is more important than being right.

9. Don’t fall into the “common enemy” trap.
Instead of simply rallying to beat a common enemy — a frequent and intoxicating tactic that’s more like a cheap trick — look for more sustainable and expansive goals that lie beyond beating an opponent.

10. Reorient the relationship when productivity begins to lag.
The best time to reorient a team is any time you notice that the sense of shared direction has been lost or that the team’s energy has decreased.

Get the team members back on track by asking them

  • to articulate together in dialog what the team has been formed to do,
  • what’s in it for them to be on the team,
  • what the team rules and agreements are, and
  • what they bring to the group in terms of skill and responsibilities.

These 10 tips should help you get unstuck if you are having difficulty participating in or leading your team.

Get Started With This 5-Minute Practice Tip

Like last week, I encourage you to assess your most important relationships at work and determine how you can amplify the sense of shared purpose with the help of my 10 tips.

Leaders and coaches: Get Christopher’s best team building and leadership strategies collected over two-plus decades of solving teamwork problems for smart people. Get this FREE Special Report while it lasts: The Five Flawless Steps to Building a Strong Executive Leadership Team.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

Posted in Collaboration, Leadership, Teamwork on 10/17/2013 06:47 am
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