Anything we build always begins with a lot of disconnected pieces. A leadership team is no different—and success depends on bringing people together on the same page, and in the right configuration.
There’s a reason that completing a jigsaw puzzle is so satisfying. All those oddly shaped components with chunks missing manage to pull together and create order out of chaos. Building a balanced leadership team is a lot like solving a puzzle—it depends on finding the right fits and creating a complete picture out of numerous asymmetrical pieces.
Leaders can view the personalities, skill sets, and perspectives of our people as those puzzle pieces. It’s their differences which combine in the right way to make things work—where any single piece won’t fit, another fills in to move you closer to completing the picture. And the wrong piece in the wrong place screws up the whole thing.
If you and I always agree, there’s probably no need for one of us
That is a phrase for any leader to pin on their mental fridge. Two Captain Kirk’s would have crashed the Enterprise in a minute. Two Mr. Spocks would have debated the logic of every decision until the cows came home.
Consider this Business Insider article about some of the best leadership combos in business history. Google’s founders bickered the entire time during their first meeting. Each of Apple’s two leaders was completely useless at the things the other excelled at. Twitter’s two dads? They were straight-up rivals.
Make sure your own leadership team complements you with their genuine qualities, not their genuflection. Fill your team with Yes-people and you might as well crash the ship right now. The powerful payback that comes from healthy conflict is one of the most misunderstood opportunities in business.
If you want a balanced leadership team, they must learn from you (the Leader with the capital L) that conflict isn’t necessarily scary. It’s ok for the status quo to be shaken up and reestablished now and then.
Diversity drives distinction
Ensuring diversity of thought in your leadership team is the next step toward empowering them both internally and externally. They become a stronger unit in the office and more capable of adapting and competing in the global workspace.
A study by the Boston Consulting Group surveyed 1,700 companies and found that increasing the diversity of leadership teams led to more and better innovation and improved financial performance by up to 19 percent. And the benefits don’t end with your team becoming stronger—diversity feeds right back into making you a better leader.
I’ve helped entrepreneurs who need to build a leadership team from scratch, and I’ve seen teams assembled from the staff at hand. Either way, every candidate should share the same values before team building begins (and here’s how to discover your values and get those who share them into the right seats). What matters next is having a diversity of character types.
In some ways, it can be a roll call of opposites. Is your bold risk-taker complemented by the presence of a more risk-averse colleague? If so, congratulations. Their combined talents just created a balanced voice in your leadership team. Do the introvert and extrovert share a table? They may teach each other how to speak up more and when to listen. And even the most optimistic team member sometimes needs a bit of a pessimist by their side. Together, their shared traits could create a positive realist.
The thing is, none of us are one-dimensional characters, and leadership team members can display all of these qualities and more to greater or lesser degrees. The Kolbe A™ Index is a good example of a tool that separates combined qualities from first instincts—those gut reactions which are usually the indicator of our basic personality type. Each individual has different traits that offset these instincts, many of which are enhanced or realized when interacting with others who are different from us.
More team-building tools from the Entrepreneurial Operating System®
In my twin roles as a Professional EOS Implementer™ and a trained facilitator, I’ve helped businesses forge leadership teams that work using methods that build on but go way beyond gut instincts. For example, the EOS® toolbox contains 20 approaches to team building, resolving issues, and making sure everyone is working as a cohesive unit for the greater good of your business. There’s also a free eBook designed to help you and your leadership team make smarter and faster decisions.
Whether you feel that your leadership team is shaky or you’re fully confident in them, they’ll benefit from being part of a business-wide organizational check-up. This exercise brings every strength and weakness into the spotlight and makes creating balance a much easier task.
Sometimes, this balance must come from something outside of the business (at least for a little while). In my facilitator capacity, I help teams come together to openly communicate, get any obstacles out in the open, and move forward with a common language of shared purpose.
And success goes beyond entrepreneurs building a balanced leadership team and a successful enterprise. In the end, true success is about living your life by design. I can help with that.
Ready to start building a better, more balanced leadership team? Schedule a meeting with Cesar today to begin laying the foundations for success.