Chapter 11

Teams and Groups

No One Is an Island


We develop individual skills, as covered in the prior chapter, in order to enable people to work better together, which is the subject of this chapter. One plus one must equal 164 in organizational life. That is, the whole had better be way better than the sum of the parts.

If that’s not true, there is no need for supervisory or management positions at all, because they would not be adding value. Unfortunately, in many organizations that is the case, and it’s our job to fix it or prevent it.

When people ask me (as they have 765,000 times over the years), “What is the greatest single influence on organizational performance?” I always choose the same factor: leadership.

The Gospel

Leaders are always sending two concurrent messages when they act. The first is the content of their decision or plan. The second is the process by which they have made it and are communicating it. The latter is usually more important than the former in terms of lasting implications.

What would you say the most desired trait in a leader is if you were to survey subordinates? Would it be assertiveness, or courage, or honesty, or receptivity, or decisiveness, or inclusion?

What people have most consistently told me is: consistency.

Let me put two rubrics to rest right here:

1. Leaders are made, not born. While some people may possess behaviors and experiences that give them an advantage (see Figure 10.1 in the preceding chapter on the three elements ...

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