Grow Your Team

" is clear NOW that a center of gravity for our IMMEDIATE efforts going forward must be to enhance the role of small teams and their leaders."
(CNO - P4 Op Pause Feedback 6Oct17)

Continued development of the team is fundamental. Whether you have oversight, are an actual lead, or are a functioning member, the environment in which the team operates is important – context matters. Composition, dynamics, value, reflection all have impact. All elements of alignment contribute to great teamwork:

"The first alignment is on direction, where there is a shared belief about what the company is striving toward and the role of the team in getting there. The second is high-quality interaction, characterized by trust, open communication, and a willingness to embrace conflict. The third is a strong sense of renewal, meaning an environment in which team members are energized because they feel they can take risks, innovate, learn from outside ideas, and achieve something that matters- often against the odds."
(McKinsey & Co.)

It is no secret that private sector companies are racing toward flatter organizational designs that allow for agility and decision authority and accountability to occur at lower levels within the company. In turn, this leaves many top executives asking:

How do you cut through the management layers? How do you get decision making into the right hands – in this case, the small team leader?

With no shortage of material on how to build a high performing team, the following offerings may be helpful in starting that journey:

  1. Proven techniques to create top-team performance:
    "High-performing teams: A timeless leadership topic" by Scott Keller and Mary Meaney (McKinsey & Co.)
  2. The difference between an effective leader and a super-sized individual contributor with a leader’s title is painfully evident:
    "To Be a Great Leader, You Have to Learn How to Delegate Well" by Jesse Sostrin (HBR)
  3. Why do leaders flip so quickly to "transmit guidance" mode when the team faces a problem:
    "Inspire Tansformational Change by Not Giving So Much Guidance" The Military Leader
  4. If you’re an effective manager, escalations should be aberrations that you accept rarely and thoughtfully:
    "When to Solve Your Team’s Problems, and When to Let Them Sort it Out" by Joseph Grenny (HBR)
  5. Harmful behaviors come in many forms. At the relatively mild end of the spectrum, unrealistically high targets can motivate employees to game the system using short-term tactics that can be destructive in the long run:
    "Managing a Team That’s Been Asked to Do Too Much" by Liane Davey (HBR)

"My expectation is that commanders will give high priority to developing their junior leaders and teams. No command can do very wrong if you are training and empowering your junior leaders. Through example, teaching, and engagement, we must produce leaders and teams who learn and adapt to achieve maximum possible performance for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea. It’s the only right thing to do." (CNO P4)

Coincidentally, NLEC recently repurposed a class in the Intermediate Leadership Course (ILC) called “Leading Great Teams”, in order to offer exposure on how the creation of a learning environment can enhance leader development and build great teams.

BONUS ROUND! During the ILC last week for SOAC Sub School in Groton, CT, one of our students, LT Andrew Hutchinson, offered the attached article as part of his required daily journal – a fascinating read.