7 CHALLENGES LEADERSHIP TEAMS FACE TODAY
In his latest book, Leadership Team Coaching – Developing Collective Transformational Leadership, globally renowned team coaching coach and author, Peter Hawkins lists 7 challenges that leadership teams face today that weren’t around not so long ago. They make interesting reading so I thought I would share these concepts with you:
- Managing expectations of different stakeholders: Examples of these stakeholders include regulators, board members, shareholders, key customers, staff and partner organisations. The challenge is how to keep them all happy, especially when they may have conflicting interests – for example when shareholders demand (as they all too often do) quick returns on their investments that conflict with the long-term interests of the business. This challenge means that our leaders need to be more competent, more articulate, more creative, more inspirational and more credible if they are to be successful.
- They have to run the business AND transform the business: These two activities require different approaches from the team. Hawkins states that transformational leadership is “a process of collectively engaging the commitment and participation of all major stakeholder groups to radical change in the context of shared endeavour, values and vision”. Clearly, this is not an activity that individuals can achieve, neither can groups of individuals acting in parallel do so. This requires a very special leadership team working together in a very special way.
- The individual leaders are often members of multiple teams: With greater inter-connectivity in the world, organisations are becoming more matrixed with result that senior leaders and managers seldom belong to just one team.
- They work with systemic conflict: As I have said, the multitude of stakeholder interests creates a multitude of conflicts of interest. These conflicts are almost a given today and Hawkins says that a senior team can consequently have too much conflict to be effective, but it can also have too little. The challenge of optimal conflict, if you like, is to get that balance correct.
- The world is becoming more complex and interconnected: This challenge means that it is becoming ever more difficult to be able to escape or get the distance necessary to stand back, reflect and see the bigger picture. One consequence of this is that all too often senior leaders are too operational in their day-to-day lives.
- The growth of virtual working: Naturally, working virtually puts pressures on teamwork and individual and collective relationships as we knew them and creates greater complexity at the human and social level.
- The major challenges lie not in the parts but in the interconnections: The main challenges no longer in the people or in the parts but in the interfaces and relationships between people, teams, functions and different stakeholder needs.
Both collectively and individually, these challenges are huge for any leader or leaders, and for their teams. In most cases, the challenges are likely to beyond one person, be that the CEO or a consultant. My contention is that the solution lies in a partnership between the leadership team and a coach. And for effective team coaching there are at least four levels of relationships that have to be attended to, often simultaneously:
- The relationship between the team and the coach;
- The relationship between the team members;
- The relationship between the team as a whole and its critical stakeholders; and
- How the leadership team enables all these stakeholders to engage differently with their stakeholders.
More of this in future Monday Memo’s in this series!
I hope that the series creates not only greater understanding for my readers, but that it perhaps creates more questions than answers. If I am successful in achieving this for you, please feel free to raise your views or questions with me at Lauron@lbcoaching.co.za.
(I am indebted to the work of Peter Hawkins, of Renewal Associates, as well as the methodology of Integral Coaching Canada, which I have integrated for purposes of this series and in developing my Systemic Leadership Team Coaching process.)