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Firm & Project Leadership

How to Get Along & Get Results in Leadership

Why is Teamwork easy to say, but difficult to do? The answer rests in your ability to recognize the mix of talent within your group to identify and solve a common goal. One of the disadvantages of teamwork is the susceptibility to consider a limited number of solutions or low accountability from members concerning decisions and actions. We can all relate to experiences in a teamwork setting in which the conclusion only seems to be evident in the distant future. We want to participate in a process that improves the decision making and minimizes conflict, like directing a brainstorming session and knowing when to involve others in the process.

During our last ELP session we sailed to explore the idea of going farther together. We learned about the individual leadership style, how to coach teams to success, and how to communicate your vision to build influence. Suzanne Smith, throughout the class, described in detail the importance of collaboration as a critical success factor in an under-resourced and dynamic environment. Establishing its challenges and presenting a method that goes beyond the old rules of competition and cooperation to combine the advantages of both.

So, we hit the ground running with these concepts for our group exercise, where we gathered in smaller teams to solve the task of prioritizing a prescribed list of items in a survival mode. What would you grab first? The goal was to save 15 items undamaged and intact after a fire in a yacht. Standing outside of our comfort zone and approaching the collaboration by attempting to stay away from our typical behavior. While enjoyable, we found ourselves positively influencing each other’s ideas and even more agreeable to specific items. Then, this would be scored in a chart to reflect our ability to advance as a team. We demonstrated great survival skills. Rescued!

Said new skills now needed to be put into practice through our class project. Once again, we gathered in separate groups to continue planning and reporting our progress as a team. Confronting the messy teamwork, always listening to everyone’s perspective, and getting comfortable with any possible tension. By the end of the session, we wrapped-up our class and we all took a wristband that would serve as a reminder to practice our lowest-scoring role within a team; some will live life with purpose, others will be the change that they wish to see in the world, and I will embrace my inner awesomeness.

Written by Manny Venegas