This summer, we are focusing on the power of unbeatable teams in our TeamStrength Leadership Workshop, and our June website features insights on creating the best team in your organization. It starts with a strong leadership team – the cornerstone of a successful company.
Here are 10 Ways to be a Great Teammate to your Fellow Leaders:
- Remember your first commitment is to the leadership team and overall company goals. Great leaders get very connected to the teams they oversee, and the best leadership team members know that their first commitment is to the leadership team. As Pat Lencioni shares in The Advantage, a leader’s priority is the collective goals of the company. Companies avoid silos and conflict when every member of the leadership team unites to support Team #1.
- Invest in building relationships. Spend one-on-one time with your fellow leadership team members outside of meetings and project work, and learn more about your peers. Unstructured time – lunches, coffee, riding together to appointments – is the best opportunity to build relationships. Schedule these, ask questions, share and connect to your teammates.
- Help your fellow leaders in every way you can. Focus on how you can offer support and assistance as often as possible. Give more than you expect to get. Have their backs.
- Maintain relationships through mutual purpose and respect. Keep your relationships strong by staying connected to shared goals, and treat your fellow leaders with respect at all times.
- Collaborate with a focus on learning more than you share. Leadership teams make better decisions through discussion, collaboration and sometimes passionate debate. Approach these opportunities with an open mind, receptive to discovering the best path together, rather than a focus on convincing everyone your ideas are right or best.
- Assume your teammates have positive intentions. Remember they are doing their best, and they share your desire to do what’s best for the company – even when you disagree on how.
- Offer constructive feedback respectfully. Share facts, not conclusions. Speak to specific behaviors without judgments or assumptions. State your feelings, not theirs. (‘You’ve postponed our meeting on this project three times – I am concerned this may put us behind’ vs. ‘Why don’t you care about this project?’)
- Choose the right way to communicate. Face-to-face is better than phone, and phone is better than email. We use fewer words in emails, and we can’t effectively convey tone. So emails risk sounding harsher than intended. It’s easy to fire off a quick email as a reaction to something – don’t do it. Pick up the phone, or even better, walk down the hall.
- Know your limitations, own your mistakes, and don’t take yourself too seriously. It is a natural reaction to get defensive when something goes wrong – your intentions were good. Get over it and own the outcome. Likewise, don’t beat yourself up. It happens – apologize, maybe poke fun at yourself, and find the positive path forward.
- Resolve issues that arise instead of nursing hurts. Silence fails. So does ranting. And don’t take your complaints to others – talk directly to the person who can help resolve the issue (with careful attention to 7, 8 and 9 above). Be ready to forgive and forget, and work to get past conflict so you can continue to win together.
You spend a lot of time with your fellow leaders and you need each other to succeed. Make being a great teammate one of your goals!