3 Hard Truths About Leadership Team Dynamics

Great companies maintain an image of unity and strength, even when the executive team doesn’t always see eye to eye. That’s easier said than done, though.

Executives and leaders, at the end of the day, are still just people — people who make a lot of important decisions, of course, but who also often have wildly different ideas of what defines and drives success. Founders who want to keep their companies on the right track need to understand what drives the individuals who make up their executive team and, despite varying perspectives and opinions, determine how best to keep them all in the boat and rowing in the same direction.

Use these methods to keep managers, executives and key stakeholders pulling in the same direction:

1. Get to know one another.
Jeffrey Hall, a researcher from the University of Kansas, published a study in 2018 about how many hours it takes to make a friend. According to Hall, people become casual friends after around 50 hours of interaction. Close friendship starts at around 200 hours. To be clear, time spent brainstorming and arguing at conference tables doesn’t count in the pursuit of closer relationships.

While leaders don’t need to reach godparent-of-children status, they do need to learn to trust one another. In our experience at Ridgeline Partners, team-building exercises can certainly go a long way toward building that trust and creating more empathetic, relatable leaders. Of course, starting the process doesn’t necessarily require a larger team-building exercise.

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