I've been lucky to work under a number of successful management teams in the past… but I've also worked with teams that, frustratingly, didn't quite perform at their full potential. And I'm sure I'm not alone.
But what is it that makes one management team successful, driven and effective, while another only mediocre? In my experience, it certainly wasn't the people involved. Each group could boast highly talented individuals: great organizers, brilliant visionaries, results-oriented people, and skilled experts. If it wasn't a lack of talent, then what was it?
I suspect that the answer has something to do with the people who weren't involved, rather than those who were.
For example, let me start by talking about some of the management teams I’ve worked under in the past. We'll call the first one Team A. This team had a raft of talented individuals, and, as a group, it oversaw some really successful products. It was highly organized, and never missed a deadline. However, what it didn't have was an "ideas person." This meant that it worked without much thought about how it could take advantage of new opportunities, and without considering the future beyond the next year's schedule. In hindsight, I suspect that this management team missed several chances to develop new products, and the organization suffered because it didn't keep up with the latest industry trends as much as it could have done.
Next, let's talk about Team B. In this case, there was a fantastic "ideas person," and everyone worked towards an inspiring, carefully crafted, shared vision of the future. Members were aware of possible threats and worked hard to avoid them, and they had a huge number of ideas about how they could improve our products. However, the team seemed to lack cohesion, and disagreements broke out regularly. It really needed someone to encourage everyone to work together to build trust and respect.
Last, and certainly not least, let's discuss Team C. Team C seemed to have it all – a real dream team! For example, one person worked fast and focused on meeting the needs of the customers, one concentrated on ensuring that people followed rules and procedures, another was full of ideas and could spot opportunities and threats, and one concentrated on ensuring that people were happy and supported at work.
It sounds obvious, but the most effective management teams perform as cooperative units, and this has become clear from my experiences with groups in the past. When you have individuals who fill different roles, there's a greater chance that people in the organization will be adequately supported, organized, effective, and, importantly, happy.
For more on understanding the different roles needed within effective management teams, read our latest article on the PAEI Model. This tool outlines four key roles that are essential to their success: Producers, Administrators, Entrepreneurs, and Integrators.
Which roles do you think are often missing from management teams? Which role do you think you fill? Which do you avoid, and can you work on building these skills? Join in the discussion below!