xxii) Some Myths about Teams (5)


Myth 1 Teamwork at the top will naturally lead to productive team performance

Practical reality

Teamwork is not the same as team performance. Teamwork is broadly-based co-operation and supportive behaviour; a team is a small, tightly-focused performance unit. Trying to force teamwork often obscures the opportunity for real team performance. Teams at the top seldom work owing to conflicting executive priorities, changing marketplace demands, individual accountability disciplines and prevailing stakeholder expectations

Myth 2 Top teams need to spend more time together building consensus

Practical reality

Most executives have little time to spare. Many decisions are best made individually, and real teams do not require consensus

Myth 3 CEOs must change their style to elicit team performance

Practical reality

Team performance depends more upon CEO attitudes, beliefs and roles ‐ not on personal style

Myth 4 The senior group should function as a team whenever it is together

Practical reality

Most senior leadership interactions are not real team opportunities, and do not warrant the application of team discipline

Myth 5 Teams at the top need to set the example for team efforts down the line

Practical reality

Most teams throughout organisations are unaffected by how the senior leadership group behaves ‐ as long as it is supportive of teams below

The aim is to achieve a balance between team and non-team performance so that the collective leadership capacity results in improved performance of the organisation

(source: Jon Katzenbach et al, 1997)


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