Preparing for a leadership team meeting can feel like preparing for battle: we arm our defences, prepare our strategies and tactics, and proceed with caution to navigate the tensions and facades that may lay waiting in the room.
No doubt, we operate in a ‘VUCA’ world – a term originated from the US Army to describe conflict conditions – and going into battle is exactly how it can feel as we prepare to meet our fellow leaders to drive our organisations to succeed when volatility is at an all-time high. Expanding regulation and evolving customer expectations means that finding solutions that suit all parties becomes an increasingly complex task. At times, decisions must be made in the face of ambiguity and under intense scrutiny, and change is constant.
Leadership teams operate in the midst of this pressure – having to manoeuvre swiftly, often on the fly and for every decision that hits the mark, there are also those that miss entirely. Is it any wonder that in the very space where teamwork should abound, leadership team meetings can become places where trust is eroded and personal agendas take precedent?
Developing a leadership team that can confidently say that it is built on trust, cohesion and authenticity is a conscious act. Teams need to carve out time to immerse themselves in the work to build the foundations for true debate and engage in constructive conflict. We then reach a stage where all members are committed to a common and agreed outcome and only then can we arrive at decisions that provide the right outcomes for our organisation, customers and staff – and even when those decisions have been made under pressure, they can still hold up under scrutiny.
When a leadership team builds this level of trust and creates true team cohesion, leaders will feel committed to the decisions they make and will then take them confidently to their teams. They will communicate expectations clearly and with conviction, knowing that there is a well-constructed strategy behind them. They will also feel more confident holding people to account: when decisions have undergone team the scrutiny of the team and are robust and logical, the tension of holding someone accountable to that decision disappears.
Frequently in the work we do at Lysander, we see that old tensions and facades melt away and are replaced with a high energy that allows teams to set direction and engage people in the journey. True dialogue abounds and work becomes a better place for the leaders – and also for the people they lead.