The key to long-term corporate success is having the ability to keep your leadership team in sync. If this group is not mentored and nurtured weekly, members may move away from innovation and into isolation. The life force of an organization is keeping the team in innovation mode, then meeting often to discuss not only how to improve current challenges but how to stay ahead of the competition. The closer the relationships with one another on the team, the stronger the camaraderie, which creates a dynamic effect on the growth of the company. If connections are not forged, then lone silos in the team can take root. Isn’t it easier to judge a person you know very little about rather than a person you’ve forged a good relationship with? Building great connections within a team keeps the vitality alive and the culture strong. Without this, a friction is formed among key leaders which can slow, or even remove, growth momentum.
Know your team members. I find it amazing how many key leaders really do not know each other. They will spend hours discussing the details of their company, yet know very little about the person sitting next to them. The strength of a corporate culture is only as strong as the relationships of its leaders. Leaders who know one another on a deeper level find little time to criticize one another, become jealous, or act resentful. The closer the relationships, the stronger the bonds. When you look at an excellent military unit, you begin to understand the statement “band of brothers.” They form a loyalty that is impossible to break.
Here are a few rules to remember when working together on a leadership team:
1. If you have a challenge with another team member, DO NOT go around the person and talk about the difficulty with other team members. This creates an immediate division within the team. Instead, reach out to the person you have the challenge with and discuss the conflict, knowing the key to conflict resolution is to maintain the relationship, not to prove who is right or wrong. Ninety-nine percent of the time, all can be settled by this one simple rule.
2. DO NOT use text or email to share your concerns with a team member. It is easy to “read into” a text and feel a person is saying something that he or she is really not saying. You must get face to face, or at least on a Zoom call, so that the “spirit” of what you’re trying to say can be heard and understood.
3. KNOW your fellow team members. Here’s a good exercise. Let’s see how many of the following questions you can answer about your fellow team members:
- Are they married?
- If so, how long have they been married?
- How and where did they meet their spouse?
- Do they have any children?
- If so, how many children and what are their ages? Are they boys or girls?
- Did your team members go to college?
- If so, where did they attend?
- Did they graduate?
- Did they receive a degree?
- How did they find their way to this team?
- What do they like most about this team?
- What are their personal goals?
- Do they enjoy sports? If so, which sports?
- What do they do for recreation? Boating, fishing, skiing, hiking, biking, etc.?
- Where do they like to go to enjoy their recreation?
- What do they like to purchase to support their recreation? Type of boat, type of skis, etc.?
- Do they like to travel? If so, to where?
- What type of movies do they like?
- Where is a special place they like to enjoy dinner?
- Do they have any traditional activities they like to do as a family?
- When they retire, where would they like to live?
4. MAKE TIME to come together as a team. Get away for a day at least twice a year, not only to share business ideas but more importantly, to have fun and share meals. Respect will grow as you look around the table and discover their individual talents and what they offer to the overall growth of the team. If you do not take this time to mentor and nurture your key leaders and show your appreciation, you can easily set yourself up for division within a team.