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How great teams help to shape great leaders

Join DN Prasad, PCC and recent graduate as he, together with his co-author Sneha Arora explore the dynamic worlds of modern-day leadership and team effectiveness (link below). As they skilfully point out, these two concepts operate very much in tandem and our expectations of one, very much impact our assessments of the other. Many of our beliefs about leadership and teams are derived from the world of sports, and while these often do still retain some validity, there are major differences between the two.

One of these differences is that while sports teams tend to produce their results while the team members are all together, operating as a unit, business teams most often, produce their results while the team members are apart and they only come back together to take stock, assess progress and agree new ways forward. This has profound implications for the nature of the leadership that is required as well as what it means to be a “good team player”.

One of the key aspects that the authors discuss in this article is the increasing realisation of the importance that the team has in shaping the leader. The more traditional approach to leadership and teams is that it is the leader’s role to shape and develop the team and its members, however in this article, the authors make a persuasive case for mutual dependency and responsibility in this area: The team shapes the leader every bit as much as the leader shapes the team, and the team has responsibility for its leader, just as much as the leader has responsibility for its team.

Finally, the authors put forward a case (following Google’s Project Aristotle) for the importance of authenticity in teams and leadership, arguing that in today’s society, the most important aspect of a team is psychological safety. A major part of this is the requirement for team members to hold each other accountable for keeping agreements and producing results, instead of comfortably deferring this responsibility to the leader.

They close with a question that we can all ask ourselves, be it in the team at work, or in the team we call family at home: “Is this a team that I am proud to a part of?” It’s a question that is just as relevant to the leader as it is to the team member, and if the answer is “no” then maybe it is not up to the hierarchical leader to change that, but you.

Read the full article by DN Prasad, PCC and Sneha Arora.

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