Teamwork: What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong Carl E. Larson
and Frank M. J. Lafasto found that leadership literature
concentrates on three areas: 1) goals or vision; 2) causing changes to occur;
and 3) involving followers.
In 1978, Burns wrote of transactional and transformational
leaders (Burns, Leadership, 1978: 119). Transactional leadership deals with
exchanges with followers. Transforming, on the other hand, revolves around
mutual stimulation and elevation. Transformational leadership converts
followers into leaders.
The matanoic organization is based on the thought that
individuals have extraordinary influence when aligned with a common vision. The
term matanoic is from the Greek for " a shift in mind." (Charles Kiefer & Peter
Senge, Transforming Work, 1989). This organization looks for a deep sense of
vision/purpose, and an alignment around that vision. This leads to empowering
people and structural integrity. It also balances reason and intuition.
Bennis and Nanus landmark book on leadership, Leaders,
speaks of transformational . The authors interviewed ninety leaders, which
defined transformational leadership in three areas: 1) attention through vision,
with compelling, results oriented leadership; 2) meaning through communication ,
relating a compelling vision, leading to enthusiasm; and 3) trust through
positioning, which is the deployment of self/positive self regard.
Tichy and Devanna, in The Transformational Leader, write of
three steps to leadership. First, the leader must recognize need for
revitalization/change. Second, the leader creates vision: What world might be
with change. The third step is one of institutionalize change, which lasts the
tenure of the leader.
Waterman, in The Renewal Factor (1982) writes of Renewing
Organizations. Leaders in renewing organizations help stabilize things by
reminding people that change is normal, inevitable, and should be valued. Vision
gives people pride that will result in a sense of commitment.
One way of investigating leadership is through surveys.
Kotter's The Leadership Factor, (1988) gives the results of interviews of 150
managers from 40 firms, questionnaire data from 1,000 top exec's, an examination
of practices in 15 corporations, and an in-depth analysis of 5 organizations.
The results show that leaders focus on intelligent agenda for change, and that
leaders build a strong, energized network or resources (Kotter 19).
Requirements for effective leadership, says Kotter, include solid relationships
in firm and industry, an excellent reputation and strong track record, abilities
and skills (e.g. keen mind, interpersonal), personal values that accept all
peoples, and the ability to motivate with
high energy, desire to lead (30).
Characteristics of Leaders
Larson and LaFasto list several characteristics of
leaders. First, a leader establishes a vision of the future - a clear
elevating goal as described in chapter two of Teamwork. Second, the leader
creates change. Third, a leader unleashes the energy and talents of
contributing members. This will generate enthusiasm, create a bias for action,
leading to commitment to team's objective.
Expectations of Leaders
Leaders establish and lead by guiding principles, which are
in the form of day-to-day performance standards. These tell what to expect on
The first performance standard tells what team expects of
leader. A leader might say ""As Team Leader, I will ...."
Larson and LaFasto give a list of six guiding principles that could follow this statement.
Adhering to a dependable set of values is a "principled" approach to
accomplishments and personal conduct.
The second performance standard shows what leader expects
of members, and what members expect of other members.
Larson and LaFasto give
a list of twelve guiding principles that lead to a values driven leadership
style. Responsibility for appropriate behavior is in hands of individual
Principled leadership occurs when the leader is tough on
principles, not on people. Real consequences are in order if principles are
violated. This is because if there is no consequence, there is no standard, and
if there is no standard there is no leadership.
This type of leader incorporates basic respect for people,
their abilities, and opportunities to achieve. It looks at the relationship
between accomplishment and self-esteem.
The leader manages principles, and principles manage the
team. There are no shortcuts to doing it right -- focus on principles and
Supporting Decision Making Climate
A supportive, decision making climate will unleash members'
willingness to exhibit a bias for action. This creates enthusiasm, and
commitment to team objectives.
To create this climate give team members confidence to take
risks, make choices, and contribute to team success.
Why create a decision making climate with encouragement and
support (126)? To create an elevated goal or vision, change must occur. For
change to occur, decisions must be made. For decisions to occur, choices must
be made. To make a choice, a risk must be taken. To encourage risk taking, a
supportive climate must exist. A supportive climate is demonstrated by
day-to-day leadership behavior.
You can bring out the best in your team by creating a
supportive decision making climate (126). Give the team members responsibility,
autonomy, challenges, recognition and rewards, and support -- stand behind the
When introducing change you will create a shift from
comfort of status quo. This may produce resistance to change.
There exists in some
organizations that judgment and decisions are better at the leader level. In
team based organizations the paradigm must change to one of decision making at
Leaders Create Leaders (128)
Leaders bring out leadership in others. This may come out
of the self-confidence to act. Followers may begin to take charge of their
responsibilities. This might come in the form of followers making make changes
rather than merely performing assigned tasks.
Garfield, in his 1986 book Peak Performers, gives
three attributes of team builders. First, they delegate to empower. Second,
they stretch the abilities of others. Third, they encourage risk (31).
Zaleznik gives us a working definition of leaders (1977:
73). "The distinction is simple between a manager's attention to how things get
done and a leader's to what the events and decisions mean to participants."
II. Summary of Leadership Studies
Leadership is important for any team. This literature
review will not attempt to be exhaustive, but will cite those works on
leadership which are considered classics and those which deal specifically with
teams. In addition, those works mentioned in
Larson and LaFasto will be
An excellent documentation of studies in leadership occurs
in Management of Organizational Behavior, by Hersey and Blanchard. This
book defines leadership, and gives a good outline of the schools of
organizational theory: 1) the scientific management theory of Frederick Taylor,
2) the human relations movement of Elton Mayo, 3) The Ohio State Leadership
Studies of 1945, 4) the Michigan Leadership Studies, 5) Cartwright and Zanders
group dynamics studies of 1960, 6) Likert's studies of 1961, 7) Blake and
Mouton's Managerial Grid of 1964, 8) and the "trait approach to
leadership of Yukl, Bennis and Nanus, Geier, etc. . Hersey and Blanchard show
that leadership studies have evolved from saying that there is a "best"
leadership style to show that leadership is situational.
III. Leadership and Leaders Defined in Literature
The term leadership is defined in several ways in the
literature about teamwork. Eugene E. Jennings wrote in 1961 about works on
leadership, and concluded that "fifty years of study have failed to produce one
personality trait or set of qualities that can be used to discriminate leaders
and nonleaders" (44). Thirty-three years later there is still no standard
definition of leadership.
IV. Team Leadership Defined
One way to define leadership and leaders is by the work
they do. Mark Sanborn in
Teambuilt: Making Teamwork Work
defines it as
"the ability to help individuals or organizations to surpass themselves." Handy
says that "a leader shapes and shares a vision which gives point to the work of
others" (7) . Starcevick and Stowell give 24 characteristics of team leaders
(Pfeiffer, The Encyclopedia of Team Development Activities: 283). Manz writes that
"the role of the leader is to teach teams how to lead themselves" (Wellins 30).
Bennis and Nanus's work is mentioned in
Larson and LaFasto.
Bennis also did a study of 90 leaders in which he identified four common traits
or areas of competence shared by leaders. The first common trait was
management of attention -- the ability to communicate a sense of outcome,
goal, or direction that attracts followers. The second trait is one of the
management of meaning -- the ability to create and communicate meaning with
clarity and understanding. Third is the management of trust -- the
ability to be reliable and consistent so people can count on them. The forth
area of competence shared by leaders is the management of self -- the
ability to know one's self and to use one's skills within limits of strengths
V. The Role of the Leader
The role of leader in teams is sometimes referred to as
"coordinator" or "facilitator." This type of language alludes to a shared
leadership in the team.
Joy and Joy write of the role of the coordinator (64). The
coordinator has many jobs. He or she advises supervisors, provides access to
personnel and resources, prepares documentation, consoles and supports
individual team members, reviews and evaluates new systems, inspires creativity,
and presents challenges to tradition. The coordinator, says Joy, gets
information and resources, but is not a decision maker. The coordinator is
unbiased. The coordinator should be picked from the area least effected by the
problem team is working on (162).
Francis and Young define both external and internal team
facilitators, which act as a coach, guide or mentor for inexperience teams
(33). The facilitator, write Francis and Young, have the following roles:
active listener; supporter; catalyst; coach; confronter; devil's advocate;
disciplinarian; guide; and action planner (42).
VI. Leadership Needs
There are eight common errors team leaders make, as given
in Seminar International's Team Leadership. These are the failure to
encourage 1) participative leadership; 2) shared responsibility; 3) common
purpose; 4) open and hones communication; 5) focusing on the task at hand; 6)
creative talents of team members; 7) a focus on the future; 8) rapid responses
to the customers' needs (18)
Mark Sanborn in
Teambuilt: Making Teamwork Work gives seven leadership
needs. The leader must 1) have highly developed interpersonal skills; 2) give
feedback to employees; 3) support employees - willing to listen, clarify, and
express; 4) pursue progress and develop people; 5) set expectation levels; 6)
model behavior; 7) deal with problem team members.
Handy gives four essential elements of leadership (11).
The leader should 1) give members room to move; 2) believe in his or her self;
3) be aware of other worlds; and 4) have a capacity for loneliness, because the
leader is out in front.
Hughs writes that for each step that teams take toward
self-direction, "managers must take one step back" (45). As a team aligns
itself with goals, the need for a manager lessens.