I have been working on a large project where I work closely with the senior management team to build a high performance team.   This project requires the bringing together of a number of organisations to deliver on some very challenging project objectives and long term targets to achieve success.

One of the critical ingredients for success on any large project like this is a leadership team that is strong, decisive and united.  A high performance culture starts at the top with the leadership team driving this as one team.

In talking to a number of members of the team in a workshop, I see a lot of management or leadership teams that interpret being united as being polite to each other.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Strong management and leadership teams are:

  • Not polite to each other;
  • They challenge, question, and push each other to get better.   There is disagreement and plenty of it;
  • They make best for organisation and project decisions rather than let their egos get in the road;
  • They do what is right rather than what is easy;
  • They play to their individual strengths so that the sum of the parts combine to something great;
  • They have a good balance of strategy and operational time together rather than focussing on one to the detriment of others;
  • They hold each other to account when their performance slips and correct when they are off kilter;
  • They are disciplined and focussed on working their plans, planning their work and executing against their strategies;
  • Individual team members’ problems and challenges become the teams problems and challenges to solve.  They are united being each other as a team;
  • They ask more questions rather than tell;
  • They deliver on their commitments which builds trust and speed with each other and within their organisation or project; and
  • Once they walk out of their meetings, no matter how many disagreements and challenges there were in the meetings, they commit and unite behind each other.

Being nice to each other may mean you are one happy family who plays well together.  But it will not deliver results.  The mantra for your management and leadership team should be ‘disagree and then commit’.  It will lift your performance as a team to a new level and also take your organisation or project with it.