The Person of the Leader: Being Conscious and Deliberate
“Great teams are made up of people who are committed to being even better leaders.”
Our book Top Teaming is about how to raise the bar of already good teams into what we have described as Top Teams—teams that succeed and thrive even as the world around them becomes more complex. While it would seem logical that great teams be comprised of great leaders, this is not always the case. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that great teams are made up of people who are committed to being even better leaders—people who are conscious and deliberate about their own learning and effectiveness as leaders and equally committed to growing their understanding of how teams continue to grow and develop.
There is no one right type of team—the structure, makeup, and focus depend on what the strategy requires. It is equally true that there is no one right type of leader within a team. Leaders come in all sizes, shapes, and styles—from extraverted to introverted, from warm and caring to businesslike, from participative to command-and-control. What is true about good leaders who build and comprise great teams is that they are very conscious and deliberate about their leadership style and about what the team must continue to do. If they were to have an autopilot setting, it would be in the “off” position much of the time.
If we look at how Top Teams operate, we must ensure that the best of individual and collective leadership intention and behaviors are incorporated into teams’ dialogue and decision-making. This is why teams are more capable of making better decisions than are individual leaders. If they have the right people on the bus and talk with each other about the right stuff, they will go forward with fewer blind spots and with collective courage.
There are some common elements that apply to leaders within Top Teams—those teams that continue to raise the bar of performance both of the Now and the New. Such leaders:
- Have high integrity, clear values, and a transparent way of operating. People around them know what to expect.
- Are committed to continual learning and development, individually and collectively. They usually have or have had great coaches.
- Are always looking outward and inward to the New. They have an eye to macroeconomics, technology, politics, customer needs, and the global situation.
- Understand their business and have a clear plan for the Now—their critical priorities and expectations for those who report to them. They know how to execute.
- Continue to deepen their knowledge of themselves (their EI) and their capacities to relate, listen, and influence others’ RI.
- Work hard at communicating with their peers.
- Strive for balance and happiness as human beings (yes, even CEOs).