Building a Leadership Team

January 13, 2020
January 13, 2020 Joe Britto

Reading time: about 2.5 minutes.

Building a leadership team is an opportunity for the leader who assembles the team and the company that team will lead.

In this blog, I’d like to explore two situations where a leadership team is built; the pros and cons of each; and three attributes that create a strong leadership team.

A Team of Leaders

Two common situations give us the chance to build a leadership team. One when a new leader assembles a senior team, and the other when a new leader is taking over an existing leadership team. Though the idea of building a leadership team from scratch might see like the best option, both have their pros and cons.

The obvious advantage of building a new leadership team is the ability to hand pick the team. We’re not faced with legacy personnel who may under perform. And we don’t have the challenge of people stuck in their ways.

Instead, starting at ground zero gives us a chance to form a team. And there’s the rub. Forming a team in our own image brings its own challenges. Group think (or the tendency for a group of people to conform to a single perspective) becomes more likely when a team holds a similar worldview to the leader.

There’s also the unknown that comes from a team of newly assembled leaders. Personalities and dynamics aren’t known which means during the storming phase the work of leadership can take a backseat.

Of the course the cons of taking over a leadership team are the opposite of the above. But the big plus is the organizational knowledge we inherit.

Diversity In Leadership

Whichever team we lead, a team of diversified leaders is a buttress to group think. Diversification of gender, ethnicity, and professional background all ensure different ideas and worldviews are present. That means different possibilities become apparent.

A Focus on Three of The Six Attributes

But for a leadership team to excel, the ability to ask the simple and obvious questions, pivot quickly in its thinking, and work in the best interests of the business aren’t just nice to haves, their vital.

Those abilities are captured by the attributes of genuine curiosity, flexibility of mind, and enterprise thinking. A leadership team who live those three attributes propel a team to lead proactively because living each attribute gives us the ability to anticipate, challenge ourselves, and work strategically.

Genuine Curiosity

The learning mindset of genuine curiosity looks at the world with fresh eyes. It wants to learn, wants to be challenged, and wants to know something new. It’s that ability that allows a leader to look at their business and ask simple but profound questions: why do we do this process? What would happen if we tried a different supply approach? How is digital transformation changing our industry? Those kinds of questions provoke answers that help us see a broader landscape.

Flexibility of Mind

At its core, flexibility of mind is the ability to pivot our thinking quickly. As a leader it allows us to accommodate barriers and challenges. But flexibility of mind is capable of more. It allows us to let go of a set way of thinking. It means we can take the ideas that genuine curiosity throws up and use them to develop bigger, even revolutionary, ones.

Enterprise Thinking

The ability to actively pursue coordinated efforts across business areas and functions and act in the best interests of a business’ customers is the essence of enterprise thinking. It connects to the other three attributes because when we’re living all three it means we think strategically to develop the business.

Leadership Attributes

Because the three attributes in this blog have the ability to be operationalized they not only create an effective leadership team, they give us the ability to create a leadership culture that can be cascaded throughout a business. And that means creating a leadership pipeline.

Do that and as senior leaders leave a business, there’s a leader waiting to assume the role. That’s the value of a strong leadership team. As it lives these attributes, it models the culture of leadership your business values and grows a leadership pipeline within your business.


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What to dive deeper?

Check out The Six Attributes of a Leadership Mindset by Joe Britto


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