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Building high performing leadership teams is no easy feat – each leader has been developed in different ways, with different mentors, through different systems and has a different lens on life. Knowing how to bring everyone together in a cohesive way is a superpower that can lift your ability to deliver, as a senior leader. 

1. Knowing the teams starting position before clarifying the journey – providing robust methodology for inviting perceptions of the current team dynamics, strengths and challenges is paramount. This allows room for individuals to contribute in a valuable, confidential way, and reduces risk of competition amongst various leaders which can distract from achieving the end goal.

2. A team is a living system – it is constantly changing therefore commitment to staying close to the ever evolving ‘current reality’ is key. Give leaders rooms to grow, but understand their limitations, and intersections of diversity, to provide support where needed. Validate when they have gained strength in an area and acknowledge and celebrate their individual differences.

3. Leadership teams are made up of leaders of others and ‘leaders of self’ – the work on ‘self’ sits alongside the work ‘with others’- a key skill amongst leaders is not only team, but personal reflection, vulnerability, and putting ego aside to support team, and personal, growth.  Encouraging leaders to acknowledge the value of their colleagues’ contributions is important.

4. We exist in relationship with others – Who I am when connecting ‘to you’, is different to who I am when connecting ‘to them’. We need to spend time exploring the complexities and opportunities of ‘us’ if we believe team effectiveness is a performance lever and key source of competitive advantage.

5. A FTSE 20 Chief Financial Officer once said: “paying attention to your team dynamics and performance, is as important as the attention you give to the balance sheet”.  He is right – ‘team development’ is not a one-off activity. Leaders need reliable and consistent feedback and coaching to elevate their capabilities.

6. Identify creative team development solutions – every team development experience is different.  Why?  Because every team is different.  As with any good proposal, a bespoke design and advanced facilitation is essential so that ‘the what’ and ‘the how’ during the time together meets the need of ‘this’ team, in ‘this’ moment.

7. Team development does not equal training – development focuses on growth and progression over time, whereas training is normally about attainment of immediate skills. Good team development is experiential, co-created, emergent and insight generating. 

Next scheduled reflection… building ‘healthy’ leadership teams – Nov 23.

Written by: Karen Griffin (MSc, MBA, FCIPD) is the Founder & Managing Director of, a niche management consultancy that thrives best when helping businesses and organisations deliver their purpose through effective strategy, leadership, individual and team performance, whilst building healthy, sustainable workplaces.