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Strengthening Team Dynamics Through Leadership

Alignment
Goal Setting
Building A Team
Remote
Leadership
Meetings
Internal Communication
Collaboration

2 February, 2022

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null at Red Hat

Alexis Monville, Engineering Leadership Team at Red Hat, shares his tips on growing a leadership team and how to develop a sincere bond between members.

Setting a Clear Purpose

Over the last years, I’ve focused on building leadership teams, which directly impact the larger organization. Many people assume that an organization is similar to a boat, with everybody rowing in the same direction. That’s not the case, however, as corporations function similarly to a fleet of boats, each rowing in different directions, looking for direction. That’s where my leadership teams come in, to provide a sense of clarity and purpose for team members.

Once teams have a clear purpose, the idea is that they will begin rowing in the same direction. The first step starts much earlier, however.

Growing Trust and Rapport Within a Team

Before a leadership team begins working on a purpose, team members need to function as a team. Simply grouping people together and telling them they’re a team is inadequate. There needs to be a level of trust and rapport that takes significant effort to nourish.

When teams don’t know one another, they are unable to engage in any conflict, meaning that collaboration halts. Rather than telling one another that they disagree and debating their idea, they will step around each other, careful not to engage in a dispute.

When I worked with these teams, I encouraged the leader to start showing their team that they should accept failures. In turn, with accepting failures came acknowledging successes and noticing the strengths and weaknesses within a unit.

Some team members will have a challenging time being vulnerable, but they need to. If they start sharing their stories of imperfection, they can encourage others to do the same, which sets a foundation of trust within the team.

Once team members begin to accept one another’s strengths and weaknesses, they can begin to give and receive feedback. It’s much easier to accept feedback from peers than it is from acquaintances. For example, I sometimes talk too much during meetings, and as soon as I began recognizing it, others felt more comfortable speaking up when I continued on.

To mitigate individualized challenges, create a social contract that will define how a team works together. If one member loses focus on details during the after-lunch hours, assign another individual to work on the most detailed tasks.

After trust has begun to grow, teams can begin to work on the purpose of the leadership team and then the purpose of the larger organization. It is key to balance these two tasks to produce strong company-wide objectives.

Tips for Strong Connections in the Remote World

The difficulty in the remote world is that informal conversations with coworkers suffer, meaning those relationships diminish. To mitigate these challenges, my company began scheduling informal one-on-one meetings, where we would be paired up with another individual for lunch. Without investing a long period of time, I was able to meet coworkers that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Many people, however, are tired of having back-to-back meetings and simply want less. The importance here is focused on more purposeful meetings with improved documentation. Writing down ideas before sharing them within a meeting makes them more thoughtful and ultimately more successful.

Making a conscious choice of what has to be treated in a meeting, or what could be treated asynchronously in a shared document for example - which is also a great way to enable the more introverts in the room to contribute efficiently

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