Is it time to make leading a business 
a team sport?


Back in 2019, before we even knew what COVID-19 meant, the Deloitte Human Capital
Trends report stated that Organizational performance is a “Team Sport” *

This report described how it is becoming increasingly important to operate in cross-functional
teams and how we are also going to have to reconfigure rewards and performance management
to support team performance.


With all the challenges that a global pandemic has brought I feel that the importance of teams
has grown even stronger. Talent stays longer when working within effective and engaged teams
so now the focus of organisations should be on creating these stronger, more effective teams
which will lead to increasing engagement at all levels. 

A business also has a responsibility to its stakeholders and those impacted by their decisions
and actions. They must engage with those stakeholders; suppliers, customers, employees,
the environment, regulatory bodies, and the wider community to ensure their needs are
understood and satisfied by their actions.


So as modern leadership evolves, is it time to say goodbye to the figurehead leaders, the
bold and forthright leaders of our past and make way for a more inclusive and dynamic
structure that values and supports engagement? Think of the impact this could have on
the current political landscape in many countries today! 

It is not going to be easy, we are all so familiar with our heroic leader model, I am sure
you could name a favourite if I asked.  We are such ego-driven individuals, sustaining strong
team performance is always going to be difficult but it can be done.


As Steve Jobs said “Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by
a team of people.”

Look at the successful business teams - go back to Walt Disney and his 9 Old men or Ford
Motor Company, and more recently the Google team.  Add to that the successful sports teams
who acknowledge the importance of understanding each other and playing to each others strengths.


But history remembers the figureheads and, maybe more than anything, that is what needs
to change. As it says in the Deloitte report, it is time to find ways to reward and performance
manage behaviours and attitudes that promote the team more than the self.

In today’s complex and fast-changing world, what does that look like and more importantly
how do you achieve it?


Below I have summarised a few key points to think about and some of the areas where using
a team coach can help facilitate and accelerate high performance within leading teams.


Firstly Identify where you are going, what is the vision or purpose of your business? 

It is almost impossible to have high levels of engagement if people are not sure what you
stand for or where you are going.  

Spend some time defining your long-term vision, engaging your key stakeholders, your wider
teams and then commit to it. Your vision should be something that holds you, your teams and
the company to a true course, it should be something that you can rely on to steer your
decisions and the direction the company takes.

Ideally, have a facilitated session to help you find your Vision. Define it and the desirable
behaviours that you and your company wish to encourage that demonstrate commitment
to the company vision. 


Secondly, Build trust in your team. Trust is the foundation of great teamwork and great
leadership. And yet we see dysfunction and mistrust within the leadership teams within many
businesses. In a busy company, particularly one that is growing or going through some form
of rapid change, this can be hard. 

To achieve great teamship, the needs of the team and the business must be more important
than the needs of the individuals. However, you can’t achieve this level of commitment without
understanding and knowing each other better. 

Following the vision, and understanding your part in it, is key for building high performance
and while it is not essential that you like each other, it is important you understand each other,
the challenges you each face and the strengths you each bring to the team.  


Thirdly greater collaboration will be required to complete ever more complex tasks. As trust
within the team grows, the team can start to unify behind the vision. They learn how to hold
each other accountable, to embrace conflict and to challenge without losing sight of the goals. 

These skills and behaviours will encourage more collaboration and maintain a laser-like focus
on the results and the vision.

TRUST is one of the key areas that Team Coach’s work on, creating a psychologically safe space
for the team to get to know each other and break down some of the barriers. 

Understanding the behaviours required for great teamwork is the first step to encouraging and
rewarding the behaviours. As we all strive to become more purpose driven we can start to
reward the behaviours and performance that enhance high perfoming teams.


Get in touch today to learn more about Team Coaching and the UpAGear methodology.

Written by Mhairi Richardson 

Get in touch with us!

Call us on: +44 (0)1509 974112