Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Cooperation/Competition Contradiction

Cooperation is the exact opposite of competition. We cannot compete and cooperate with the same person at the same time. We also cannot simultaneously cooperate with someone who is currently competing with us. Being a teammate is difficult when we refuse to cooperate and when others refuse to cooperate as well. Isn’t this why we often default

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No Policy?

The most dangerous policy any team can have is a policy to have no policies. This is often established as an extreme attempt to empower the team. The result is the exact opposite. A team with no house rules or clear expectations is a team destined for passive-aggressive inconsistent confusion. This unsafe environment is as unempowering as

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Policy Danger: Part 2

Bad policies can also be created with the best of intentions. Policies are usually meant to prevent or ensure specific behaviors. A bad policy will typically have an unintended consequence. Policies that make decisions for us will eventually lead the team to an extreme version of the reality the policies were intended to create in the first

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Policy Danger: Part 1

Policies can be overused and can create abdication of common sense when misapplied. Teammates can get in the habit of hiding behind a policy when faced with a hard decision. This can create a dysfunctional, passive-aggressive environment that embodies the statement, “Hey…I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them”.

Policy Shapes Behavior

Teams usually have policies that are designed to help people make the same decisions. Great policies empower the team to carry the authority of the team leader with the confidence that the team is on the same page about a particular issue. Great policies reinforce team values and inspire confidence.

Current Reality

Every leader is responsible for the current reality of the team. The leader is always reinforcing something. When a teammate is recognized publicly for doing a great job and embodying the team values, the team learns what is important to the leader. When a leader does nothing in the face of behavior unbecoming of the team values,

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Trust Over Competence Equals Politics

If a captain is chosen because of a personal relationship which results in trust, then the team soon learns that the leader can be manipulated and the subtle race for influence will begin. Politics are competitive and have no place within a team. Politics on a team can only exist if the leader chooses to participate. Internal

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The Leader Must Choose…

Leaders should be empowered to pick their own teams and this is especially true of captains. Captains must be selected carefully. They must be someone who the leader respects and freely chooses without outside pressure. Respect will result in trust even if the leader and the captain are not close friends. If a leader doesn’t respect a

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Confidant to Captain

The confidant of a leader can become a captain as the team grows with its ever-increasing tasks. This is a great move if the confidant or friend is a competent leader. Competence and trust will make for a great partnership and transition. However, if the confidant is promoted based on trust alone, this places everyone on the

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Adjusting for Size and Scope

Every team requires leadership. The size of the team determines the type of leadership that is required. Leaders must make an adjustment when the size and scope of the team’s tasks and purpose outgrow the leader’s personal ability to lead everyone on the team. Leaders must share their authority differently at different thresholds. Too often leaders hoard

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