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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Agenda - The 8 Components of Extraordinary Leadership Teams

CEO Agenda

The 8 Components of Extraordinary Leadership Teams

Campbell Macpherson

Leadership is a team game, not a solo pursuit. Leadership teams are critical to every organisation’s success – and they exist at all levels of an organisation. Leadership teams set the strategy, are responsible for the delivery of the strategy, create the culture and set the tone and the example for how everyone in the organisation behaves. 

Dysfunctional leadership teams can bring an organisation to its knees. Extraordinary leadership teams enable organisations to thrive.In my many years of working with leadership teams at all levels of organisations worldwide, I have determined that there are 8 key traits that successful leadership teams possess and every single one of these traits can be developed.

Building a leadership team is like building a house – or in this case, a temple.

The foundations of a successful leadership team are two-fold: 

  1. Respect, for without genuine respect for one another, no team can possibly succeed, and
  2. Shared Objectives – a clear strategy with clear outcomes that are shared by every single member of the team.

Most teams consist of members who respect one another’s title and position, but deeper respect must be developed if the team wishes to succeed. 

There are four pillars to our temple:

  1. Trust. Respect enables Trust, the first of the four pillars of our temple, the pillars of an extraordinary leadership team. A team where every member trusts that their colleagues are coming from a good place, that they have the best intentions for the team and the organisation – no matter what they may say or even how they may say it. A successful team’s members trust that their colleagues have their back and that they want them to succeed personally – because the success of the entire team depends upon it. 
  2. Commitment is the second pillar. Genuine commitment to the team and to one another.
  3. Constructive Disagreement is the third pillar: the ability to have ego-free, robust debates; discussions that can get heated and emotional at times. Team members are not afraid to engage and disagree. In fact they are eager to seek out a diverse range of views to arrive at the best result. No-one is afraid to be proven wrong, because being wrong helps the team arrive at the right decision. Their debates, discussions and disagreements are all conducted with respect. In heated discussions, every team member plays the ball and not the person, to use a sporting parlance. 
  4. Active listening is the final pillar: the ability to listening to understand not merely to reply. Highly-effective team members listen closely to the other person and play back what they have heard in a quest to build a deeper appreciation of the other person’s perspective and challenges. Enhanced understanding leads to better and shared solutions to critical issues.

These four pillars are the key behaviours of an extraordinary leadership team. When combined, they create an environment of “Zero Fear 100% Respect” (to use a brilliant phrase from David Chiem, CEO Of MindChamps and Asia’s 2022 Most influential Entrepreneur) where every single member is sufficiently comfortable and confident enough to point out errors, suggest new ideas and say precisely what they think, in a respectful way, in the full knowledge that they, too, are respected. An atmosphere where they can ask questions and voice opinions without ridicule or punishment. An environment that is also known as ‘psychological safety’.

The last two components sit atop the pillars:

  1. Accountability. On top of the pillars and enabling the roof to be built is: Accountability. Each member must be personally accountable for playing their individual role to the best of their abilities, for delivery of the collective strategy, for the behaviour of the team as a whole and the behaviour of every single one of their fellow team members. The last one can be the toughest challenge of them all.
  2. Delivery of Results. And finally we have the roof, completing our temple diagram and making it whole. Delivery of Results is the culmination of every single one of the other attributes in the diagram. It is why the team exists. And when it comes to results, there is no individual triumph without a collective triumph. Either the team wins or no-one does.

8 Components of Extraordinary Leadership Teams

How does your team fare on each of these critical elements? Are the foundations solid? Where does it excel? Where does it need to improve?

Written by Campbell Macpherson.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Agenda - The 8 Components of Extraordinary Leadership Teams
Campbell Macpherson
Campbell Macpherson is a sought-after speaker and international business adviser on leadership, strategy and change. He is an Anglicised Australian based in the UK and can be found wherever his clients need him to be. Campbell is an Executive Fellow of Henley Business School and author. His first book, The Change Catalyst (Wiley 2017), won 2018 Business Book of the Year in London. His second book, The Power to Change: How to Harness Change to Make it Work for You (Kogan Page 2020) was a Highly Commended Runner-Up in the 2021 Business Book Awards. His third book, You: Part Two (thriving in the second half of your life) was co-authored with his yogi wife, Jane Macpherson, and was published in 2021 by Hachette. All of his books are available from Amazon US & UK and Booktopia in Australia. More information about Campbell can be found Here.

Campbell Macpherson is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.