Building a Stronger Leadership Team: Why Now is the Perfect Time for Your Team to Connect

July 4, 2022

When leadership teams connect in person, they can develop stronger, deeper relationships – and healthier organizations

Throughout the pandemic, leaders have been hyper vigilant, operating in crisis mode. They’ve made the teams they lead their priority, rather than the executive teams they’re a part of. They’ve focused on connecting with their direct reports, helping them address mental health concerns, and ensuring they have enough people to do the work. But strategic focus has suffered as a result.

At the same time, many executive teams have transformed over the last two years because the players have changed. And because teams have been so focused on keeping organizations running for so long, there’s now a desire for coming together to be strategic and really move organizations forward.

Now is the time to reinvent as well as bring teams together – for two reasons: team members don’t really know each other because there are lots of new players, and to really drive change.

Personal connection builds trust, strengthens performance

The challenge for the teams, however, especially within the hybrid environment, is connection. Most are working from home, often cities apart, and they’re missing the mini conversations that a chance elevator or hallway run-in used to provide, pre-COVID. It’s why so many companies are looking to in-person, executive team sessions to help their leaders bond and get to know each other.

Some companies are taking their teams to Europe for a week; others are running in-person sessions closer to home. All are looking to strengthen bonds, finds points of mutual understanding, and enhance relationships among their most senior executives. And they’re not waiting for the fall or spring; they’re doing it now.

When the leadership team comes together in person away from the office, they shed the pressures of their working relationships. They get to know each other on a deeper level, bonding over shared interests, personal histories, and ideologies – and, most importantly, they build trust. Then they take these connected relationships back to the office and work together more effectively and collaboratively, which impacts the performance and culture of the whole organization.

Moving leadership teams from tactics to strategy is crucial

These sessions also give leaders the chance to create what Patrick Lencioni describes as a “first team” mindset – when leaders prioritize supporting their fellow leaders over their direct reports. It encourages senior executives to work together to solve issues for the health and benefit of the organization, even if they need to make difficult decisions for the teams they lead. It focuses the leadership team on strategy vs tactics and it’s an important step – especially in today’s environment.

If everyone on the leadership team can work at the first team level and deliver organizational strategy, you can change the organization. If the leaders all just run their functions, you can't change the organization.

Focusing leaders on the corporate strategy is the next big undertaking for organizations right now. Finding opportunities for these senior executives to connect in person is going to be crucial as we find our way out of the pandemic. And as many of the companies we speak to are finding, there’s no time like the present to get started.

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