When Teams and Leadership Do Not See the Same – Part 1

16/07/2012 — 10 Comments

Often tension arises when teams and leadership do not see the same issues as pertinent & most pressing. Both the leader and the team have responsibilities to bring their perspectives to the table and to reach a consensus on the way forward.

When teams and leadership do not see the same issues, there is possibility for division. We need to approach this from both the team and leadership perspective. Let us start with leadership…

Without falling into the trap of chasing every rabbit, the leader cannot afford to ignore the issues that the team sees as obstacles to deliver what they should. He can either do this by making team realize that the issues they see as obstacles are not the main issues.

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In addition, for the sake of the bigger picture the leader must deal with those things in the way so that his team can focus on what matters. A key part of leadership is addressing issues that get in the way of the team, negatively affecting the mission of the enterprise. Many leaders fail because they just bulldoze “their issues” to the fore.

This can be frustrating to the team. Leaders can fail to get buy in from their team by not first ‘buying in’ to deal with the perceived challenges of their teams.

Before you discredit the perceived obstacles of your team, from their perspectives, have you really listened to them? Have you looked into their validity and implications to the team and your enterprise?

Have you taken any tangible steps to address them? Have your actions given your team substantial confidence that you are addressing the issues they have raise, to enable them to pursue the mandate you may be about to give them?

Some issues might not actually be worth much attention in the greater scheme of things. However, how leadership handles them communicates a lot to the team. Brushing off perceived challenges by your team can have detrimental effects on fulfilling mission and subsequently on the enterprise.

When leadership and teams do not share the same perspective, leadership still has a responsibility to create a platform to listen. Leadership does not always know it all and must not find it a threat to admit ignorance. This can help build trust and confidence of the team.

Leader, whatever you do, deal with the teams’ perceived challenges in a way that will enable them to focus on what they need to. Failure to handle these instances can build issues onto other issues, resulting in a blur of what the challenges are. Instances of different perspectives can be both divisive and uniting based on how leadership handles them.

Question: What are some of the worst or best ways you think leadership can handle situations of differing perspectives with their teams?

illustration by Sasquatch I, (cc)

Blessing Mpofu

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