I recently watched a newly minted executive host his first leadership team meeting. Despite his preparations and forethought, it tanked. Over the coming weeks, he was able to recover and “re-start” the team, but I wondered what led him to derail in the first place. In our debrief, so many of his hindsight conclusions started with “I thought that…” revealing some of the misconceptions he had about what it meant, and didn’t mean, to actually lead a team of leaders. When the rubber hit the road, the gap between what he intended to do, and what is instincts led him to do, was much wider than he expected.
From that experience, and in many observations of leaders and teams before that, I’ve learned a ton about how not to lead a team. So this is my grown-up team-leadership wish list. The advice I find myself most offering to clients whose teams are flailing. The missed opportunities I’ve most seen circle the drain on teams that had enormous promise. The leadership choices that can make or break the cohesion and energizing dynamic of a team. It is my version of the quintessential team leader’s guide to being a wonderful leader of a team.