Leading A (Distributed) Team? Foster "Above the Line" Behaviors.

Ram Singh

Principal / Founder at id8 inc


Distributed Teams and Cohesion

Distributed teams face unique challenges that co-located teams do not. However, simply co-locating a team does not automatically solve the problem of poor cohesion. Co-located teams can also suffer from disjointedness. It is crucial to address the root causes of poor cohesion rather than relying solely on collaborative tools and techniques.

One significant root cause of poor cohesion is the presence of "Below the Line" behavior among team members. This behavior involves pushing blame, making excuses, or denying issues. Individuals exhibiting Below the Line behaviors tend to be closed, defensive, and focused on being right. They often perceive negative scenarios as something happening to them, rather than taking responsibility for their role in the situation.

To mitigate this issue, it is essential to foster a team culture that encourages "Above the Line" behaviors. In this culture, team members are encouraged, recognized, and rewarded for taking ownership, accountability, and responsibility for their circumstances. Those who exhibit Above the Line behaviors are open, curious, and committed to learning. They acknowledge their active role in shaping their experiences and actively seek to take responsibility for their actions and explore alternative approaches to achieve more desirable outcomes.

As Amit Mathur, my former manager and mentor, introduced me to these concepts and demonstrated them in practice by leading by example, I am grateful for his guidance and support.

"Distributed teams do face challenges that co-located teams don't." - Optimized for SEO

"It's best to address root-causes that lead to poor cohesion, rather than just relying on collaborative tools and techniques." - Highlighted key quote

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Ram Singh

Principal / Founder at id8 inc

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