A wee rant about when leaders don't play nice with each other....
When a team does not work well together, many people are impacted. The team does not do its best work. Conversations are less fruitful and tensions cause people to seek the meeting room exit sign instead of dig deep into important operational challenges. Upstream and downstream internal customers are affected by the dysfunction because it spills into their communications and affects the quality of the work coming from the team. Those around the team feel the pain from the team’s dysfunction as the stress and tension bring down the surrounding vibe of the place. Even those with no direct involvement with the team are brought don’t by failed teaming.Now imagine that the team members are leaders. The reverberation of their dysfunction is much wider and tends to “go viral” very quickly. Middle managers are affected and they may take out their frustration on their people. Leaders cannot expect their managers and employees to be any more committed and passionate about the business than they are and demonstrate through their actions. The same adage goes for teaming. As a leader, you cannot expect the rest of the organization to work well together if the leadership team does not seem to care enough to work well together.
Holding Yourself To a High Standard
Leadership team dysfunction is an indicator that leaders do not care whether people work well together. This might not be an accurate interpretation of your beliefs, by the way, but how else could it be interpreted? Leadership team members are some of the most privileged employees within the company. They get paid the most, have more perks, have been entrusted with the amazing responsibility to lead the organization, and people follow them. Yes, their jobs are very hard and may involve more pressure and risk than we care to take on, but they are privileged. If highly paid leaders do not think it is worth their time and effort to improve how well they work within their team, why should anyone else?
Executive team dysfunction is irresponsible and immature and I cannot fathom what is going on in someone’s head that rationalizes why it is OK to waste his or her time and his or her peers’ time because they don’t like someone’s style (for example). Grow up, I say, when I am facilitating leadership retreats and come across this type of behavior. You don’t like someone’s style? Are you kidding me? Leadership team members should hold themselves to a higher standard and then have similarly high standards for the teams that report to them. It is well worth the time you need to invest to develop good teaming skills and well worth biting your tongue on occasion (or putting your ego temporarily aside).
It is important that leaders harmonize, not homogenize, to produce the best thinking, decisions and outcomes. Be great together!