Leadership Trevolution Blog

Blog Entries by Tag: Team Leadership

Leadership is Tricky

Published on: Jan 21, 2013 | Tags: Leadership, Leadership Development, Team Leadership, Self Leadership, Productivity

Captain AMy four and a half year old grandson went out on the sailboat with his dad and me this weekend. There was no wind to speak of, so we motored around a bit with my grandson at the helm. I think you would agree he is a great helmsman if you had seen him. I am convinced he is a natural, and I am fairly certain this is not Skipper’s (that is what he calls me) bias. He was able to hold a heading, avoid running aground, and obey the warning buoys. He even let out a “Land ho!” a few times. A true sailor!

When he was ready to return to the marina, he pointed the boat in that direction. After a moment, he turned to me and said, “Skipper, this looks tricky, I think you had better do it.” Amazing perceptivity for a four and a half year old, I think. It is tricky to bring a boat into its slip in a marina. There are many factors that must be considered and he was aware that he needed more experience to be successful. Do you ever feel that way as a leader?

 I have been working with leaders for over a decade, developing resources that result in skill development. I have trained, coached, written, and consulted with many developing leaders, and I believe most of them recognized that leadership is tricky. It is so tricky that a few months ago, I was asked my definition of leadership and I replied I could not provide a succinct definition. I had definitions of self-leadership, team leadership, and organizational leadership, but not a general definition that encompassed all three. These three definitions are the basis of what I have called the Trimergent Leadership® System.

 Last year I began a review of the science behind our content and approach to leadership development. In that review, I was able to write a succinct definition of Trevolutionary LeadershipTM that people will be able to apply practically to self, workgroup, and organization. It brings clarity of practice to leaders. This effective leadership practice will revolutionize the way leaders lead, improving work performance. We are introducing our new leadership system, the Trevolutionary LeadershipTM System, this year. The new system builds on the previous one with greater clarity, a renewed focus on skill development, and a continued commitment to new science that supports new practices so leaders will no longer have to rely on the historical practices of scientific management.

 Leadership is tricky, but with competence developed over time and through practice, it can be mastered. We are committed to developing people who lead with concepts, knowledge, and skills that yield results personally, in workgroups, and in organizations. If you are finding leadership tricky, and would like more information on how we can revolutionize your leadership practices please contact me at clint@jclintanderson.com.


Leading Your Team to Collaborate

Published on: Nov 21, 2012 | Tags: Team Leadership, Teamwork, Productivity, Collaboration, Decision Making, Management, Leadership

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Three Reason Collaboration is Faster than Top Down Leadership

Published on: Nov 05, 2012 | Tags: Team Leadership, Teamwork, Productivity, Collaboration, Decision Making, Communication, Management

I have never enjoyed putting jigsaw puzzles together, but when I have participated in completing one the picture on the box is indispensable. Without it, I find it difficult to know where to start or understand what pieces go in which part of the final product. I can’t imagine being expected to create pieces for a puzzle not knowing what the whole picture is supposed to look like. 

That is the dynamic managers can create when they assign work without considering input from employees. Employees are delegated work with the expectation that they can create the parts without understanding or contributing to the design of the whole product. It is no wonder that in the end the pieces of the puzzle, whether a product, project, or service, don’t fit. 

At times, collaboration may be perceived as more time consuming than top down direction, but is it really. It may seem faster to tell people what to do, but you have to consider reworks, work arounds, conflicts, and competing ideas in your assessment of the time that the top down approach requires. 

There are three reasons that collaboration is faster than top down directing. 

1.  Seeing and developing the whole picture

In a collaborative process, employees engage in defining the picture. Every resource every team member brings is available to determine the best outcome andPuzzle the most efficient way to get there. When each person sees the whole picture and contributes to it, most of the problems in the top down approach disappear. 

2.  Positive interaction develops better working

In the collaborative process, a skilled leader who knows how to use process and human interaction to discover the best solution manages the interactions. This develops quality relationships that engender communication and mutual support. As a result, when a team member is unsure of his or her impact on another they can work together to find a solution before problems escalate.

 3.  Complementary work

When a team that both developed and created the picture of the whole creates a product, project, or service the pieces tend to fit when the puzzle is put together. The individual work is complementary benefitting the whole.

 In a fast pace, high change environment practicing collaboration to achieve a better result faster may appear counterintuitive. It also requires a leader skilled in both process and interaction that results in collaboration. If you are interested in learning more about these skills you should participate in our upcoming, complimentary webinar, Leading Your Team to Collaborate, on Friday, November 16 at 1 PM Central. For more information or to learn more click here.

Three Leadership Skills That Result In Collaboration

Published on: Oct 29, 2012 | Tags: Team Leadership, Teamwork, Productivity, Feedback, Culture

In his book, Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, Leonard Mlodinow cites research on how we as humans tend to inflate our performance. This isObservation called the “above-average effect.” Researchers have found that, when asked, as many as ninety percent of us believe we are above average. This is a risky perspective, to believe something about myself that may be contrary to evidence. 

I recently asked a group of leaders who are going through our Leading Teams course how they know their skill as a leader is growing. The course develops both leadership skills and capacities that revolutionize the way people work together. A leader should be able to see that kind of change in his or her team, don’t you think? 

We concluded a leader knows his or her skill is increasing when he or she deploys leadership practices that are intentional and appropriate for  team and individual needs, resulting in improved teamwork and performance. In other words, people work together better and get more done. 

Collaboration is a key component of effective teamwork. It results in exceptional individual and group performance. A leader can evaluate his or her skill in developing team collaboration based on observed behavior and measured outcomes. These are the indicators of leadership skill.  

Leaders take the first step toward team collaboration by developing skills. A leader can learn and develop three foundational skills to benefit from team collaboration. 

Skill 1 -Establish a collaborative team culture

Team culture influences how the people work together. It can develop intentionally as a leader defines it clearly, or it can develop unintentionally as nature takes its course. Leaders who want a collaborative team culture skillfully ensure it develops. 

Skill 2 – Observe and identify collaborative and non-collaborative behavior

A leader can classify individual behavior as collaborative or non-collaborative. While many leaders observe behavior, mostly that which they do not appreciate, they may not practice classifying it as collaborative or non-collaborative. The skill of observation and classification may appear inconsequential, but it is foundational to providing actionable feedback and direction. 

Skill 3 – Direct and redirect people toward collaborative behavior

Providing timely, actionable feedback to people is an essential skill for developing collaboration in your team. Being a leader who is respected and trusted positions you to be heard as one who both desires a great work environment for his or her team and high performance.

  The article, 65% of Americans Choose a Better Boss Over a Raise -- Here's Why, by Ty Kiisel quotes research by Michelle McQuaid, which is reflected in the article’s title. While I do not suggest leaders begin to constantly second-guess themselves, it is important to have an accurate understanding of your effectiveness as a leader. 

An accurate perspective on leadership skills and capacities reveals strengths as well as opportunities for growth. A leader who invests in developing skills and increasing capacity makes a real difference in his or her team. 

Our next complimentary webinar, Leading Your Team to Collaborate, will provide insight into the three skills mentioned above. We will host it on Friday, November 16 at 1 PM Central Time. If you would like to learn more or to sign up please click here.

Three Characteristics of Consensus

Published on: Oct 22, 2012 | Tags: Team Leadership, Decision Making, Management, Teamwork

It is common in business (and other areas as well) for trends to develop when new, fashionable words or phrases emerge. A look at recent management history will provide several examples of new language representing new concepts, or at times, new language representing the same dated concepts that have been practiced for years. In either case, we who want to be current and cutting edge tend to adopt the new trendy language. 

The real challenge is not changing our language, but changing our practices. The behavioral patterns that develop over time, and become as comfortable as they are thoughtless in practice, prove difficult to change. 

It is that difficulty which results in skepticism when leaders talk about the “new” and continue the exact practices that followers are so accustomed to experiencing. 

For this reason, definitions matter when new and trendy words come along.  Correct definitions result in correct understanding that can result in changed practices. You know your definition by your practices.  

For instance, leaders have described two practices to me as reaching consensus. Of these examples, neither represents the definition or practice of consensus. They are: 

  1. Make everyone happy – Defining consensus as everyone being happy ensures a leader will experience significant frustration.  This definition may be based in the belief that the manager is responsible to ensure employees are happy. A manager who strives to keep everyone in his or her work group happy has accepted a difficult assignment. A few days of this approach to managing or leading will prove wearying. I would not practice consensus if it meant I had to keep everyone involved happy. I do not want that job. (Some days, I can’t make myself happy!) 
  2. Everyone agrees with the leader – I have observed leaders who announce a decision and ask if everyone agrees with it. Of course, they agreed! I have seen this occur after the leader listened to input from the work group then announced, and when the announcement was made unilaterally. Some leaders have described this scenario to me and called it teamwork resulting in consensus. 

 It is risky to assume, based on this scenario, that everyone agrees with the leader. People in this situation may not speak up if they disagree, and will not do so for various reasons. Some will agree in external expression while planning how to undermine the action. Even if everyone agrees, it still does not represent a consensus result. 

The correct definition of consensus will make a significant change in leadership practice. The term, while not new or trendy, holds much potential when it occurs as the result of a collaborative process in a team. 

Consensus is agreement that the group has determined the best outcome based on the full contribution to the solution by everyone involved in the decision making process. 

ConsensusBased on the definition there are three characteristics of a consensus: 

  • The group discovers solutions through the synthesis of individual contributions. The outcome represents a solution that was not previously recognized by any individual.
  • The group agrees that the best outcome has been determined. 

The skills required to practice both collaboration and consensus are different than those many managers have been taught. That may be why it is easier to redefine the concepts than change leadership practices. If you want to learn more about leading your team to collaborate, plan to participate in our next webinar. 

Title: Leading Your Team to Collaborate 

Description: Many organizations are beginning to make decision affecting next year.  Next year’s performance directly relates to the quality of those decisions. Team and individual ownership in those decisions increases everyone’s potential. 

Collaboration provides the best outcome with the highest ownership levels. The leadership skills that move a group from internal conflict and competition to collaboration create both higher performance and a positive work environment. At times, managers’ skills to address competition and conflict develop unintentionally through trial by fire. Collaboration and teamwork sound good, but seem more like buzzwords than reality. 

This webinar will clarify collaboration as it defines collaborative behavior and the primary reasons many groups cannot practice it. Participants will gain insight into how groups become teams that collaborate, as well as practices that will support collaboration. 

Sign up here

Revolutionary Collaboration

Published on: Oct 15, 2012 | Tags: Communication, Team Leadership, Productivity, Decision Making, Management, Teamwork

Collaboration can revolutionize both the experience and outcome people share when they work together. A revolutionary experience can result in both new freedom and a stronger team. For many work groups, this is an elusive reality to create even when it is both valued and desired. 

Leadership is the key to revolutionary collaboration. The leader determines whether a team works collaboratively or not. My experience has been leaders who desire to develop collaboration in teams lack the concepts, knowledge, and skills to get there. This is not an indictment of their leadership, but an observation of how current management practices fail leaders.

We can begin with a definition of collaborative behavior as it relates to the workplace. 

Collaborative behavior is the practice of considering how my decisions and actions affect my team members, and making the choice or taking the action that benefits everyone affected.  

 Beyond that, if I do not know how my decisions and actions affect team members, I find out before deciding or acting.

CollaboratePracticing collaboration requires developing this discipline in both leader and group members. This practice will revolutionize the way you work together. Some affects you can anticipate include: 

Increased and relevant communication – Team members must both seek and share information to act collaboratively. 

Mutual support – Collaborative action is supportive action as choices are made that benefit everyone involved. 

Openness – When one team member asks another how he or she can approach a decision or action in a manner that both or all benefit, there is an inherent openness to hear the answer.

Less conflict – When one person in a work group makes decisions or takes actions that undermine others conflict is created and grows. Collaborative behavior diminishes this dynamic lessening conflict on your team. 

Better outcomes – When team members take actions that connect their shared responsibility to a shared outcome you will see an improved product. This includes less time spent on workarounds, reworks, or compatibility problems. 

Can you see how collaborative behavior will revolutionize your team? Would you like to know more about revolutionary collaboration? Our next webinar Leading Your Team to Collaborate will provide more insight into developing collaboration in your team, in your leaders, and in your organization.It is scheduled for Friday, November 16, and you can sign up here.

Three Reasons Collaboration Beats Competition in Teamwork

Published on: Oct 08, 2012 | Tags: Productivity, Management, Team Leadership, Decision Making, Team Work

A team, by definition, consists of people who work together. I have discovered a range of definitions for “work together” in organizations. At times it means people areCompete connected to the same manager, others might say it means we tolerate one another, and still others might develop friendships enjoyed at work. These definitions do not clearly delineate how people work together, nor do they ensure realization of the true benefits of teamwork.

When many work groups do actually attempt to work together to make a decision, address a problem, or define a goal it becomes competitive.  Competition influences the group members’ participation in those processes. 

  • One person may become more assertive, or even aggressive, to ensure he or she influences the outcome based on his or her perspective. 
  • Expertise can be positioned as an advantage to ensure one is heard and respected so his or her input is utilized. 
  • A group member can withhold his or her ideas, passively avoiding the interchange to avoid an escalation of tension while hoping someone else decides the results. 
  • The leader can depend compromise, knowing everyone received something important to him or her while accepting everyone also had to give up on part of his or her ideas. 

When collaboration characterizes “work together” there are different influences resulting in different group member experiences. 

  • Everyone knows his or her contribution is valued and will be considered as he or she values and considers others’ contributions. 
  • It is a safe environment for everyone to contribute ideas and provide feedback to one another. 
  • Experts are open to questions, learning, and options as they contribute to a shared solution. 
  • The leader ensures that the group focuses on discovering the best outcome or solution. 

At some level, collaboration and teamwork are synonymous. Competition in a work group counteracts most of the benefits that we gain when we truly work together. For this reason, collaboration is better than competition in teamwork. 

There are three reasons that collaboration beats competition in a team. 

1.      Focus 

Competition focuses on winning. Those who are competitive strive to see their input chosen as the answer. The non-competitive withhold the contribution that may make the difference, but is not known to the group. 

Collaboration focuses on the best solution or outcome. The focus is on every person in the team contributing all that is available to achieve that common result. The competition is against the problem, best decision, or goal and not one another.

2.      Interaction 

The interactions in a competitive environment usually do not promote healthy relationships. Communication can be ineffective with more talking than listening and ignoring those who do not compete. 

Collaboration, which should be energized in lively debate, requires listening to understand and making sure one is understood. Interactions are respectful and it is safe to contribute as well as question the ideas of others.

 3.      Outcome 

Competition results in a one sided outcome, or a compromise of what everyone can live with. It leaves group members with questionable commitment to the outcome that they may or may not agree with fully. 

Collaboration results in the outcome everyone agrees is best, knowing each one has contributed something to discovering it. There is ownership in the decision and clarity that engages everyone in contributing. 

Teams will benefit from collaboration. Without leaders who possess both the skill and capacity to develop collaborative teamwork, they will not experience it. Our next webinar will provide foundational leadership skills for leaders who desire to develop a collaborative team. More information is available here.

Creating Employee Ownership through the Five Levels of Accountability

Published on: Oct 02, 2012 | Tags: Accountability, Productivity, Management, Team Leadership, Feedback, Empowerment, Delegation

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Many managers find the practice of holding employees accountable difficult. At the same time, they resist empowering those employees to make decisions and take action, limiting performance.

There is a connection between the ability to hold an employee accountable and the willingness to empower that employee for performance and goal achievement.

Our webinar, Creating Employee Ownership through the Five Levels of Accountability,  provides you with methods that make accountability a positive experience for both the manager and employee. 

Watch it on YouTube.




A Leader’s Self-Investment

Published on: Sep 24, 2012 | Tags: Accountability, Self Leadership, Productivity, Management, Team Leadership

Creativity PostIn a recent article on The Creativity Post, Elizabeth Grace Saunders encouraged us to put ourself first. I completely agree with her. Balancing personal needs with the needs of others ensures that one succeeds over the long term. 

I am writing this blog sitting in my small sailboat on Lake Travis in Austin Texas. I am not here because I deserve to enjoy my passion. I am here because a simple drive and investment in me results in higher productivity and creativity that I hope benefits you. 

As a leader, you must invest in yourself. There are many ways to do that depending on how much time you have and what interests you. If you do not develop your capacity to lead and improve your skills, it is those you lead that will suffer not you. 

There are many options for you to invest in yourself as a leader to ensure your success and the success of those in your life. Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Reading Books, Blogs, Articles (thanks for reading this one!)
  • Reflection
  • Observation of Effective Leaders’ Behavior
  • Peer Learning Groups
  • Professional Development Courses
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring Relationships
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Webinars
  • Assessments
  • Advanced Degrees 

Our mission to Revolutionize the Way People Work Together guides us to invest in leaders who are successful and investing in greater success. If you cannot find time to invest in yourself, you will eventually hit the ceiling of your current skill level as a leader. Beyond that, you may be living with challenges and frustrations that you believe are intractable. What will happen if you take some of the time you spend constantly addressing the same problems to develop the leadership capacity to solve them? 

We are offering you an opportunity invest one hour in yourself this week. If you are spending time addressing these challenges then it may be a great investment for you. 

  • Low Accountability
  • Employees Who fail to Take Ownership
  • Difficult Feedback Sessions
  • Credibility as a Leader

Our webinar entitled, Creating Employee Ownership through the Five Levels of Accountability is designed to provide insight that develops leadership capacity to address these challenges.

It is true that many managers find the practice of holding employees accountable difficult. At the same time, they resist empowering those employees to make decisions and take action, limiting performance.

There is a connection between the ability to hold an employee accountable and the willingness to empower that employee for performance and goal achievement. This webinar provides participants with methods that make accountability a positive experience for both the manager and employee. 

The opportunity to invest in yourself is this Friday, September 28 from 1 to 2 pm Central Time. If you have an hour to invest sign up here.

Ensuring an Accurate Perspective in Accountability Sessions

Published on: Sep 17, 2012 | Tags: Feedback, Team Leadership, Communication, Decision Making, Management, Accountability

FeedbackSomeone recently said to me, “This is my perspective.” While I appreciated that person informing me, it was not necessary. When we speak, we usually do so from our perspective. I did appreciate that he recognized it though. Some of us do not think much about how our perspective influences our communication, decisions, and actions.  This can have serious consequences when providing a team member feedback or holding him or her accountable. 

When you are looking in one direction it is easy to be aware of what is creating your perspective, but it is important to realize that there are always points of view that you are not taking. 

Try this, look straight ahead and consider everything you see. Now, turn around and consider how much you could not see from your original perspective, but is just as present in your current circumstance. 

Many times leaders fail to consider all that they can see, much less what they may not see from their point of view. Have you ever said or thought, “I wish I had known that?” 

That is usually my thought after it is too late to do anything about it! 

Before you give a team member feedback there are three steps you can take. I am discussing the first one here. We will consider this further in our upcoming complimentary webinar. 

  1. Look Around to Gain Perspective

Make sure that you have seen everything in your view, and then look around for additional interpretations of what you see. 

A manager had a team member who did not contribute in meetings. He interpreted that lack of participation as disinterest and apathy: his perspective. 

We broadened the manager’s perspective by looking at all of the information that was available, but ignored. The team member was engaged outside of meetings and his performance was above expectations. 

This additional information influenced the manager’s perspective and made him more open to alternative explanations. Ultimately, he discovered that the person did not feel it was safe to speak in meetings. 

In addition, he needed time to think about his contribution, and that time was not built into the decision making process for the team. He was not able to contribute as a result. 

If the manager had acted on the original interpretation of the situation, he would have had a negative impact on a person who contributed in every way outside of meetings. He might have lost a valuable team member. 

When the manager discussed the problem with the team member with a broader perspective, they were able to achieve a win-win solution that increased the team member’s contribution. Beyond that, the team benefitted as everyone’s opportunity to participate grew. 

What difference will taking time to broaden your perspective before giving feedback have on your team? 

We will consider this and more in our complimentary webinar, Creating Employee Ownership through the Five Levels of Accountability. This is our second and last time to offer it this year so don’t miss out. It will held be on Friday, September 28 at 1 p.m. Sign up here.

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