Three Questions For Today’s Leadership Teams

Leadership BreakthroughI had the opportunity recently to work with a group of incredible young people chosen to participate in a unique and forward-thinking program to groom future community leaders. The city of Lewiston, Maine believes that listening to teenagers, tapping into their perspectives, and putting their budding talents to work in city government is key to getting and keeping them engaged, as well as motivated to work in the future to ensure the community’s vibrancy and prosperity. At the orientation of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council I facilitated a program that focused on learning how to form and work effectively as a team. Typically the team development work that I do is remedial – helping dysfunctional leadership teams figure out what isn’t working and why, and getting them back on the success track. How refreshing to have been involved in helping a brand new team learn proactively how to get it right and keep it going! An important part of the program covered the 4 progressive stages of team development (Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing), and, despite their youth and inexperience, they had no trouble understanding the relationship between who is on the team and the consequences of how it behaves as a whole. They also didn’t miss a beat when I asked them to “rip a current or recent story from the news” for an example of a leadership team in corporate America, sports or politics that hasn’t reached the final PERFORMING stage where the group is highly effective at successfully achieving goals as a unit…”The government and health care reform”, shouted out several participants without hesitation, “They won’t be able to get anything accomplished if they are stuck in the STORMING stage!” No doubt about it, these kids (and other future leaders, including the ones in your organization) are paying attention to the type of leadership behaviors that deliver results, as well as those that don’t!

Great organizations are led by those who are capable of demonstrating the dynamics and successful outcomes of collaborative teamwork to the rest of the organization. Research by the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics at Duke University shows that those who placed the long-term interests of a group ahead of their personal goals are likely to ensure the long-term survival and success of the organization.


1. Surveys show that less than 25% of senior leaders are committed to or participate in their own leadership development. How will you be capable of showing us how to lead together effectively for a common purpose?

2. We see how power plays, personal agendas and career aspirations within a group of even the most talented individuals can sabotage good intentions and result in chaos, frustration and performance decline. What will you do now to better define, choose and prepare the team of people who will need to carry the leadership torch into the future?

3. Contrary to conventional wisdom, breakthrough innovation and performance is the fruit of collaboration rather than that of a genius working alone. If we demonstrate effective leadership team behavior and deliver excellence, how will you reward us differently than the current system that tends to disproportionately reward the top executive?

The future may depend on your answers.

Author: Marilyn Lustgarten
Article Source:
Digital TV, HDTV, Satellite TV