Make up of a great leadership team

A diversity of skills and perspective is critical to a high functioning leadership team as long as everyone is committed to a shared goal. Different views often lead to contentious disagreements and highly-charged friction. Often, we try to avoid such confrontations but they actually help sharpen our ideas.

The problem is when there is a misalignment of goals — if someone puts one’s personal ego above the team goals. In that case, the team will be fractured and the friction just wears everyone down.

In my experience, a great team has a core of people who are great at execution. They are process-oriented and goal-oriented. They are the foundation of the team. They make big and small things happen. They are pragmatic and can quickly call out unrealistic concepts. These critical team members are effective managers and know how to get the most out of people. They strive for continuous improvement of how things are done.

Then, a leadership team also needs a few who see beyond what’s in front of them. They are visionaries that push the boundaries of what is possible. Often, these people can inspire on the short-term but can also be a big disruptive force within an organization.  They can also play the role of a contrarian, who challenge the group think.  These team members can be either very popular or extremely unpopular. They are polarizing, but usually don’t see themselves that way.

Together, these different skills can make up a highly-functional, innovative team — as long as they are authentically aligned to a shared team goal. That, unfortunately, is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, such a great leadership teams are not very common at all.