A Team of Five has 59,048 Possibilities to Under-Perform

For a team to truly perform well, there must be excellent relationships among all team members. We covered that in the previous issue.

On a five-person team, there are 59,048 other possible relationship combinations. Person A gets on with Person B, but not with Persons C, D and E. Person B gets on well with Persons C and E, but not so much with the rest, and so on. With weak connections, the team under-performs.

My key point here is to make you more aware of how important the quality of individual relationships are in delivering a top performance.

I mentioned previously that mechanical systems are per definition stable and organic systems are per definition unstable. By unstable, we mean that the system is in a constant flux—always in transition from one state to another.

One aspect of the instability in a five-person team is the quantity and quality of connections—the relationships—between team members.

Two people can have three types of relationships—good,...

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All Your Problems Are Interpersonal Relationship Problems

"Tell me, what do people actually ask you to coach them about,” she asked. I was having a lovely conversation with an old friend who I had not seen in a while and we were catching up on how our lives had developed. I tried to give her a few examples of what I thought were very different issues of what I’m working with.

Later that week, I was reading something by Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler and came across this:

All problems are interpersonal relationship problems.

Then, it hit me—reflecting on what I had discussed with my friend and also thinking through other examples. They may call it different things, but by far, most of the coaching challenges that I work on are about relationships.

Relationships with colleagues, bosses, across departments or even customers—even relationship with themselves—

—the common denominator in all of this has to do with how to work better with others.

Why do so many people struggle with this and why is it so...

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Leaders Found Less Than Proficient at Leading Othersβ€”

Would it be fair to say that an important part of leadership has got to be the ability to lead others?

Yet, in a survey published by Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), only 45% of leaders are rated proficient at this by their boss.

Wait a minute, are you saying that more than half of the European leaders out there aren't considered by their boss to be good at leading other people?

Yes. Exactly.

If that's not shocking, then it's at least seriously thought-provoking.

But the sad fact is that it correlates well with the Gallup surveys that say that more than 60% of our workforce are not particularly engaged in their job while 23% are actively disengaged. To a large extent, engagement is a function of leadership.

These are depressing stats. To me, it just confirms that there's a serious challenge out there to improve our leadership capacity.

CCL recommends three ways to improve that situation:

  • Challenging assignments that offer opportunities to practice new skills in the...
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A Team Leader's Key Instrument: Conversations, Not Small Talk

Before you plunge into this, take a moment, and think about leaders that you have admired in your life. This could be a teacher, scout leader, sports coach or boss. Go on. Do it now.

When you think of a leader in your life that you've admired, does a specific conversation come to mind?

I think most people can remember at least one—maybe even several—conversations that they have had with a great boss. A conversation that somehow shifted something in their thinking, understanding or behavior.

Great conversations have a powerful impact.

But great conversations are also time-consuming. For exactly that reason, they're also often the most neglected part of your leadership toolkit. Most people don’t seem to find the time.

That's a shame because when you neglect your conversations, you miss out on one of the most effective leadership instruments at your disposal.

Now, conversations are not just conversations; they come in many forms. Some are...

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Powerful or Powerless: What Do You Prefer?

In the previous blog post, you looked at the importance of building relations as a basic skill for first-time managers (FTMs).

Essentially, you're the instrument. How you decide to show up from situation to situation will determine how your relationships with other people are formed.

If you're the instrument, you will need to be aware of three things: your actions, behaviors, and conversations. At the end of the day, how you decide to mix and match these three will determine how successful you end up being in your roles as an FTM—or in any future management position for that matter.

In this blog post, you'll explore the first of these three key tools.

What you decide to do—or not to do—defines you in your managerial role.

Leaders who come across as trustworthy and powerful in the best sense of the words are the people whom you know you can trust to act on something when it's brought to their attention. In my view, they are powerful leaders.

There are...

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How Your Relations Affect Your Results

In this blog post, I would like to focus on the importance of relations.

The last blog post briefly touched on this when you worked through the high-performance team model.

The second step in that process—the who part—is all about relations.

Daniel H. Kim, the systems thinker, has illustrated this in an elegant way.

You then have a fundamental choice here which can go one of two ways: You can generate an upward spiral where we are continuously developing our relations and, as a result, performing better, or you can take the downward spiral where it all just gets worse.

It's a choice—a choice that's going to determine whether the team's going to be successful or not.

Ultimately, it’s going to determine whether you're successful in your role as a team leader.

For the first-time manager (FTM), this sometimes comes as a surprise. You may think, "I have a gazillion other things to do. Do I also have to think about that? I just want to get...

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