People work with people. That is a phrase that gets thrown about quite often. In a leadership team, a good relationship between members of the team is essential for the team to operate effectively.
Why is a good relationship important to Leadership
For a leadership team to be effective, the members of the team need to work together. The team needs to work towards a common goal. Therefore, the team needs to be able to have honest and open discussions. This means that there may sometimes be differences in opinion, but that’s okay. As long as those differences can be resolved or put aside so that you can work together. If left unresolved, it can lead to animosity between some members of the team.
Leadership teams with strong chemistry between them are in a better position to work through challenges. Working in such a team means that you understand each others strengths more and also appreciate how you can complement each other. You can resolve issues including intrapersonal issues between the team.
There are elevated levels of trust, honesty and respect in leadership teams with good relationships. There will also be high integrity levels.
Having Each Other’s Back
In a leadership team, having each other’s back can be useful in extremely difficult and stressful times. Knowing that your team is there for you and will support you is important especially when you are under a lot of pressure. Effective leadership teams are able to rally around each other.
However, supporting each other does not mean that you cover up for each other. It means that you work together to come up with strategies to solve the problems. You do a debrief to learn from your lessons. You come up with how you can improve.
When things are not going to plan, frustration sets in. In weaker leadership teams, it is easier to blame others. It is easier to put on a ‘not my problem’ attitude. Some may even take delight in the failing of others.
This type of attitude is very toxic. It destroys relationships in teams and leads to divisions. It can also knock people’s confidence and impact negatively morale.
Trying to establish what’s gone wrong, what can be improved and how you can improve things is a much better way of ‘getting to the bottom of it’. It gives leadership teams the confidence that the objective is to find the root causes of the issues and come up with strategies and solutions to fix them.
Impact on Teams and Organisations
Irrespective of the size of your organisation, being a leader involves leading people and collaborating with people. In organisations with leaders who have strong relationships, the rest of the workforce can see and benefit from their impact. The good relationship from the top trickles down. It fosters good relationships between leaders and their teams and between respective team members.
The entire organisation reaps the benefits of strong leadership relationships.
What happens when the leadership and relationship break down
If the bond between the leadership team is not strong, this can lead to the team becoming weak. The team, therefore will not be able to work together towards a common goal. Different leaders begin to pursue different agendas. This will have a negative impact on the organisation.
Discussions between leadership team members cann also become difficult. Not much progress is made. It takes much longer to resolve issues. People start to walk on shells around each other. They can go to the extent of avoiding each other, whenever they can.
How to build strong relationships in the leadership team
Good recruitment practices – your recruitment practices must reflect your organisation’s values and culture. This will help you to attract the right talent to your organisation.
Team building– spending some time to get to know members of the leadership team is a powerful way of building strong relationships. Leadership development training is also a good way and starting point for this. Although you can adopt this at any point as part of your leadership development programme.
Emotional Intelligence – a leader with strong emotional intelligence are more self-aware, they develop strong inter-team and intrapersonal team relationships. Hence, together, they are more resilient.
Coaching – leadership teams can benefit from coaching. A coach can help the leadership team to build that strong relationship. High-performance leadership teams can be held accountable by their coach. The coach can also facilitate difficult conversations.
Communication – establishing the rules of engagement for the leadership team at an early stage can be advantageous to all parties. Clear, concise and consistent communication is key to a successful relationship.
Time – carving time out of your incredibly busy schedules to engage and work together as a team is particularly important. Use this time wisely to review your direction and to check in with each other.