Successful leaders understand the importance of peer harmony. You may be contributing effectively to your own team, but if you can't play nicely with other leaders in the organization your effectiveness will be undoubtedly limited. Trust itself is abstract, but it's measurable and observable . . . particularly when leaders from different teams can't work together with a common goal in mind. The result? Projects slow down. Priorities reflect egos rather than company objectives. Subordinates pick sides . . . and ultimately, good people get fed up and leave.
When people see leaders behaving poorly or politicking with each other they lose respect for them. The dysfunction tends to bleed down through the organization and ultimately makes for a less effective and less enjoyable environment for all.
Conversely, when dysfunction is minimized and leaders actually look out for each other the results can be powerful. There is no need for people to pick sides and healthy debates can flourish as projects move forward. There are other benefits as well . . .
Processes are often necessary in growing organizations to maintain some level or order and structure. However, when you find yourself analyzing problems to death and convening committee meetings to evaluate simple project ideas, it may just be an issue with leaders trusting each other to do the right thing. Things simply move faster when your leaders don't feel the need to question motives or agendas. The focus instead shifts to the merits of the ideas and issues at hand.
Let's face it, without the innovation crippling processes that come with dysfunctional teams work can get done a lot faster. For most people, getting good work done quickly is fun. At the same time, mistakes aren't pounced upon as points-scoring opportunities . . . so people can become more willing to take intelligent risks as they work to make their company better.
Teams with good trust and solid chemistry will always have an advantage over teams that don't. The results will be easy to spot: Project successes celebrated together and mistakes dealt with objectively and earnestly. But even when the numbers look good, there's one other important component to our results at work . . . are we enjoying each other's company? Are we building something together that we are proud of? Are we connecting with one another as leaders and team members? Will we look back on each chapter of our career and be proud of how we treated each other and what we built together?
Ask your fellow leaders:
1. Do we have each other's best interests at heart?
2. Are we competing with the actual competition, or with each other?
3. Is the issue the project, or the egos behind it?
4. Will we look back on this time and feel proud of how we worked together?
The answers should tell you something about the health of your leadership team and how they work together. If you're part of the leadership team, look inward first.
Sure, trust in your direct leader is always important. But trust WITHIN your team is just as important. As leaders we are ultimately responsible for the health of the culture in our organizations. No one wants to work in a team where people are falling over each other to back-stab, score points or posture for personal gain at the expense of others. Great teams are made up of individuals who care for and support each other. They understand and trust the motives of their peers and they genuinely applaud each other's successes. People are simply happier when they feel part of a cohesive and trusted 'family' as opposed to being a number in a group of people doing similar work.