Leadership Teams are everywhere, but most teams need support with Team coaching, to be able to leverage the true potential of their team members and the team itself and realize the benefits and generate value for the team’s stakeholders.
In this multi-post series, I will share my personal experiences along with notes from the book “Leadership Team Coaching”, by Prof Peter Hawkins and would love to hear your insights and experiences.
KEY Leadership Team Challenges
In this first post, let us understand the KEY Challenges currently being faced by Leadership Teams :
- Managing expectations of all Different Stakeholders
Leadership teams today must be able to respond and ‘win the hearts and minds’ of multiple stakeholders – which include key customers, internal staff, partner organizations and the broader spectrum of regulators, board members and shareholders, with communities and the wider shared ecology. Future generations and millennials have even greater expectations and less respect for titles and roles, and leaders will need to earn their respect with creative inspirational and credible actions.
- Leadership teams have to RUN and TRANSFORM the Business in parallel
All leadership teams today have to focus on not just running the business, but also look at transforming the business and the wider system and this is never easy! With parallel work across the three horizons, the leadership teams typically have the below focus areas and tend to struggle on maintaining the right balance.
- Immediate – Business as Usual
- Innovating for tomorrow
- Future foresight requiring radical change
- Teams need to increase their Capacity for working through Systemic Conflict
Multiple leadership teams are under pressure from the stakeholder group that they represent (CFO – Investors interests, HR – Employees, Sales – Customers etc..), and this leads to systemic conflicts between the various leaders. But for transformational leadership to succeed, we need these leadership teams to collectively engage the commitment and participation of all major stakeholder groups to change in the context of shared purpose, values, and vision. This conflict resolution requires the teams to expand their collective capacity to manage this systemic conflict.
- Human beings learning to live with Multiple memberships and belonging
The leaders in leadership teams are increasingly becoming more interconnected with the broader ecology, and increasingly matrix organizations. Every leader is a member of multiple teams, representing the interests in various capacities (E.g. – Executive team, Board member, Industry committee representative, Working groups etc.). This multi-team belonging is difficult for human beings who traditionally as species have learned to be loyal to a tribe/family group, and therefore it is difficult for us to adapt to this new multiple membership’s world.
- The World is becoming more Complex and Interconnected
Team leaders today are living in an interconnected world with an ‘Always ON’ mode with demands across the organization, and ‘work anywhere anytime’ post pandemic scenario. This makes it harder to stand back and reflect and see the bigger picture and the team leaders are now turning to team coaching to provide the protected space and outsider perspective.
- The Growth of Virtual working
Post the pandemic we are all now forced to work with remote working, and teams working either virtually or hybrid, and all this change requires for us to learn and enhance our communication skills, but also learn new ways of building and establishing trust. We need to be able to build the informal social circles and/or build those ‘moments of trust’, which can replace the earlier physical interactions, and this is still a work in progress for most leadership teams.
- The major leadership challenges lie not in the parts but in the Interconnections
As the world has become interconnected, the main challenge lies not in the people, or in the parts but in the interfaces between people, teams, functions, and different stakeholder needs. This leads us to effectively coaching relationships, which leads to enabling the dialogue, resolving conflicts, or helping teams relate better inter-personally. This means that it is not just sufficient to be ‘customer-focused’ but we need to focus on our customer’s customer – enabling their customers in turn to make a difference for their customers. The leadership teams now need to shift to a virtuous cycle of active collaboration, which is grounded in a shared purpose instead of the vicious cycle of blame.
- Restoring Trust
Employees increasingly now expect the companies they work for to be purpose led, delivering social and community change, and not just profits. This requires that we ‘restore trust’ which has been lost or is falling across customers and our stakeholders. Leadership teams struggle with this trust deficit and are learning new ways of restoring this trust.
- Increasing the Quality of Engagement
Leadership teams are finding it extremely important to engage effectively with employees and stakeholders, considering that trust is critical in this VUCA world. The key elements requires that leadership teams provide a strategic big picture, have engaging managers, employees who can easily voice their ideas and concerns, and organizations whose values align and finally ‘real teamwork’ to enable teams working on shared purpose.
We will explore more on Leadership Team coaching in my next post , but would be interested to hear more about what are your leadership team challenges ? Do these challenges resonate with your teams ? Do these resonate with you as a Team Leader?
Feel free to reach out to me for your team or individual coaching needs and subscribe to my blog to learn more, as I share my coaching journeys.