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

Changing A Company
Building A Team
Company Culture
Leadership
Ownership

12 July, 2022

Ram Singh
Ram Singh

CTO at REAL Engagement & Loyalty

No online tool will address your team's ability to connect, collaborate, and deliver results if the individuals don't bring the right mindset to work.

Distributed teams do face challenges that co-located teams don't. But co-locating a team doesn't automagically solve the problem of poor cohesion. Co-located teams can be just a disjointed at distributed teams. It's best to address root-causes that lead to poor cohesion, rather than just relying on collaborative tools and techniques.

One root-cause of poor cohesion is when team members look to push blame, make excuses, or deny issues. This is called Below the Line behavior. People exhibiting Below the Line behaviors are typically closed, defensive, and committed to being right. Also, when a negative scenario arises, they talk about it as if they are victims of something happening to them because of someone or something else.

This can be mitigated by fostering a team culture of Above the Line behaviors, where team members are encouraged, recognized, and reward for taking ownership, accountability, and responsibility for their situation. Team members who are Above the Line are open, curious, and committed to learning. They recognize they are active agents that contribute to their experiences, and seek to take responsibility for what happened and figure out what they can try/do differently to achieve more desirable outcomes.

There are a lot of resources on-line discussing Above the Line vs Below the Line behaviors, including this video to start you off.

And, thanks to Amit Mathur, my last manager and a mentor and friend, for introducing me to these concepts and for demonstrating them in practice by leading by example.

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