Is the Leader Steering Your Team Into a Ditch?
You are on a newly formed team, assigned to come up with a recommendation for reducing costs within your organization by five percent in the next year.
All departments are represented on the six-member team. While team members are acquainted with each other, none of you normally works together. The company designated Warren as leader because he is a senior cost-accountant with 30 years experience at your firm.
After just a few meetings, you are concerned about Warren. While his knowledge is essential to the team’s mission, he shows Q2 reluctance to lead the group. He allows discussions to drift into time-wasting side issues. He doesn’t challenge the team to put aside their surface politeness and really wrestle with some of the difficult choices that will have to be made. Two members hardly say anything at all.
You are concerned that Warren’s ineffectual leadership is going to result in poor team performance. Company officials could be very disappointed by the team’s output. But since you are not the team leader, what can you do?
As a Q4 leader, you should exercise your influencing skills. Warren is officially the leader, but you can help him do a better job if you lead by example. Encourage participation from everyone by asking reticent members their opinions. Make statements that try to keep discussion on topic and help with time management. Summarize discussion to show the group how far they have come — or not — toward solving problems and developing solutions. Suggest action plans that move toward progress on the team’s goals.
Everyone on a team should feel responsible for the success of the team. If the team’s output is disappointing and second rate, it will reflect badly on everyone involved. So, you need to do more than just give your own best effort. Your Q4 collaborative and interpersonal skills can help Warren bring out the best in the other members. Answer A gives specific suggestions.
Don’t attempt this choice; it’s presumptuous on your part and it would be embarrassing to Warren. He is the official team leader. However, you can offer direct and indirect support to help the team make a strong showing. Answer A gives some ideas on influencing the team. If Warren shows his appreciation for your support, of course, you can offer to do more, such as helping with meeting agendas or goal setting.