So, what are team and leadership exactly? Actually, it’s up to you. (Part 2)

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In Part 1, we explored different expectations which people internationally have about team and leadership. In Part 2, we explore ways you can deal with these different styles to make sure difference works for you, and not against you

I think there are three key strategies to think about:

  • Strategy 1, this is about you. It’s about taking time to think about the way you do things. Stop and reflect – what is team and leadership for you, Idea 1, Idea 2, or something else? Note down a few ideas. And then, think again; how do these beliefs influence the way you behave in teams? And how do these behaviours impact positively on some people, and perhaps negatively on others? And with this awareness, think about how you could adapt the way you communicate and collaborate to engage and influence more effectively. If you’re feeling brave, try something different in your next meeting – and see how others react … and if it helps, keep doing it. If not, try something else. Whatever happens, you’ve started to exercise more leadership.
  • The second strategy is even more interactive? It’s about engaging with others, actively asking what are your preferences about team and leadership? And as people explain their ideas, you can share yours, find where you’re similar, where different, and what you can do to improve the working relationship. This doesn’t have to be a formal process. Just do it informally over a coffee, over lunch. Just have a conversation about collaboration, and explore how to do things better.
  • The third strategy is more formal – it’s really a kind of team building. It’s about sitting as a team and talking really openly about preferences, and then actually designing a model of team and leadership which really makes sense for your team, your project, your situation. For this, you need to follow a few steps.
    1. Ask your team members to watch this animation, Part 1 and Part 2.
    2. You then ask team members to draw their idea of team and leadership, using the animation as an inspiration, with squares, circles, triangles, it doesn’t matter.
    3. Now you meet together – and you take time to share and talk about these personal images and what they mean – and the expectations, the values, beliefs behind them.
    4. Now the team building – after everyone has expressed their individual ideas, they design together a single image which visualises and captures clearly what team and leadership means for all of you – your co-create how you will do team and leadership together.

You know, in the end, the message is very simple. We can’t assume that our idea and ideals of team and leadership are shared, especially when we go international. We need to reflect on our own style, discuss it informally, and then more formally co-design together the way we want to work – what team and leadership means for us.

In the end, it’s so simple. Yet, strangely, it so often doesn’t happen. My appeal to you – make it happen. Use the three strategies. I’ve seen leaders and teams apply these ideas, with amazing results.

OK. That’s it. Thank you for listening. I hope it was useful.

And I look forward to talking to you again soon on another international leadership topic. Thank you.

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