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Working With High Profile Team Leaders

by Mentors to Executives Worldwide
November 15th 2021
Do you have a high profile as a team leader within your organisation? Are there other high profile leaders in your organisation? Do you work together or are you competing for attention? This week Kim ... More
Okay, welcome back, I'm Kim Baillie, she's Fulyana Orsborn, this is Inside Exec. Today, we're going to talk about high profile leaders of teams and how that might affect the teams performance. The teams themselves feel that they would benefit from working more closely together or even being interlinked and the leaders of both teams are not in favor of this happening, not having any concern about how the teams would work that way, but they are very protective of their individual personal positions. They're both very high profile leaders within the organization and don't want that to change. To me, it sounds like a personal image type of situation. So I'm really good at what I do.

Everybody knows that and I don't want to have that in any way changed diminished or even the other person, like they're thinking I'm good because of this other team. But both those individuals in charge are exactly the same type of person and thinking on the same lines. The first thing I would say if I was helping them see the other benefits is to look at why they think working together closer would be a minus rather than a plus. The fact that their teams have come up with the idea on both sides seemed to me there is a benefit and an opportunity that has been not noticed because of the two leaders. Very absorbed by their own personal image. All right. So I think if I was in one of the teams, I will approach my boss and then talk about it and about the benefits, what we see in the team is a benefit.

So they're really important. If I was the manager above those two, I would be very much talking to them about how wonderful they are both doing individually. I will just sow some seeds about, have you thought about how much more powerful and what ideas might come out if you look at both. So both teams have to produce something for the organization but both teams do it differently. They're completely different aspects but they might be delivering to the same customer. The customer might be internal or external. So then they're knowing the customer they're knowing the circumstances by at least interacting. Not initially just getting everything mashed together by interacting and talking about where they're trying to go and why and where they act now as a team to deliver their goals and go beyond the expectation.

What does that do for both and what parts can be copied or come together to do it? That would be a thing that I would be highlighting all the time. More benefits. Yes, you're doing great, keep reinforcing and complimenting about the fact that they're both doing individually great. And yes, if you continue to do that, you'll continue to be great. But even better if you thought of new ways of how you can work from both areas going to that would be I'll come up with an example of something that would be if you're both doing the same thing to get information, but you use it differently then that process of discovery might need to be done once for both of you. And this way you can allocate your resources better. You can find that you will save time and save repetitive work if you do it that way and then focus on getting stronger and bigger in that sense.

The other thing I would bring to the tables, Have you thought about your team learning? If you really care about your team, you've got a great team, you know. How about the experience? Why wouldn't you look at maybe how they can learn about another area? I learn about Area B and so then in similar jobs and similar roles that you can grow across the whole two teams instead of individuals growing in their own team? I would do that. The other thing is, I would put it in the performance reward system of some kind have it being directly related, It's not just achieving and getting your goals on single, but have some goals that would say working with other areas in that recognition and reward system. That is something we value in this organization and we reward that You would look at each other's areas and work together again, continuous benefits and how much better we can be.

Yes, we're great. Can we be even better than great. My concern with this situation is why are there two individuals who are considered high profile in an organization? Is that the organization culture that encourages individuals to be seen as high profile leaders apart from their teams? This is a situation where the leaders are considered separate to the team rather than part of the team and that to me says something about the organization culture that encourages that to develop and that to continue. If that's the case, then it's going to be very difficult to get any sort of compromise or negotiation between the two because they want to hold onto the profiles that they've got because they see that as what the organization values. So we have to look a little bit deeper, I think to the organization and the organizational culture and that means going to the next level up of management and saying, is this typical, is this what you want?

Is this how you want the organization to be? And if they say yes, they've done the work, they are high profile, we value them then that's the organization culture and that's a whole different thing that you have to change because it comes back to their core values and their mission statement. If they've got one and the way they regard their teams and their people. And it's a very different scenario to just looking at two people who think they're important if we can get down to it, but they're only important because the teams that are working for them have made them that way. So it's about the teams. I think the groundswell of sentiment that says, can we try on this project? Can we work with this team? We won't mention that you're part of it. We won't say that you have to do anything but just do the salami technique, just do a little bit at a time, take a slice at a time and say, okay on this project, we'd like to work with these two people don't make it the whole team. To say I'd like to work with these two people to give me some input so that we as this team can provide you with the solution.

So your status doesn't change. You know, you'll still be important. You won't have to obviously they're not acknowledging their team at the moment. If they're the high profile leader, you don't have to say who worked on it. But we'd like to start, we think that the information could come best from this place. Start small build up the rapport and the trust within the team. To me there's a level of distrust that seems to be showing between these two groups between the two leaders. They're concerned about their own personal profiles. They don't trust the other person is not going to get more cudos. They are. And so then the positioning changes within the organization. But basically my concerns are the organization, culture, the core values of the organization and how and why this situation has been allowed to develop in an organization and I think it's got to go up rather than down to the teams to resolve. This is a bit radical. No really that I worked for a Ceo of many, many, many years ago who had a similar situation and to demonstrate how serious the organization is about people working not about their own image and rewarding good behavior is to do with how you do all the things we're talking about.

It was such that one person was in charge of team A another in Team B and whilst it was again they both high performers and the team is very similar to this situation, but the two people were forever competing not undermining each other, but all the time they're doing things to make themselves look better than the other person. The Ceo said this is really great, I'm so happy with both of you now, I want you to swap. That was the radical one. And he said, okay you both swap teams. But both teams were ecstatic because they kind of thought it was a bit childish and sick of their leaders being as subtle as they were about it and they both capable of running whatever team. So all of a sudden they could see it from the other point of view and then they got the point got the message from Ceo that this is how we want this culture to be how this organization is.

We work for the organization, the good of the customer and not for our own individual gratification only. Yes. I think that the softer approach to that would be to go to the Ceo or whoever is the next level of management. Up and have the two leaders in and ask them individually what they liked about the others team and actually get some direct feedback and make them think about the other team and about what was good in that team because they both get some reward out of that because they're hearing someone else's opinion of their team. But it's also going to make them individually think about the other team and think about them clearly. Maybe that sows the seed of thinking about will we be able to use the team to do such and such or someone in the team or it's just the small slices again of starting the collaboration. But I do think that the approach of making them look at the other teams instead of looking at themselves is a good way to start. Agree, that's what you have to do.

If you've been in that situation we'd love to hear from you. But for now I'm Kim Baillie she's Fulyana Orsborn and this is Inside Exec.

Working With High Profile Team Leaders
Working With High Profile Team Leaders
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