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Mirror, Mirror in the Boardroom ...
Take a look at your team. No, really look at them. Did you notice that your team members are very similar to you?This is no accident. People like people that are like themselves. Leaders attract people that are like-minded, similar in beliefs and values, and often mirror strengths and weaknesses too.
When called to assess the slump in any given company, I often arrive a little early for the first board meeting, to enter the building through the basement, kitchen or service area. Board members prepare themselves to dazzle consultants (and CEO) with their brilliance and knowledge and often regurgitate what they think I want to hear. This does not assist me to find the problem that required them to use my services in the first place. Masks and defence mechanism are the order of the day.
In order to sneak behind the masks and barriers to find out what really is happening – I go in through the service area. Here people are happy to offer help and answers as to vision, mission, values, strengths and weaknesses. By the time I get to the boardroom, I have had a look into the boardroom mirror (the people on the ground), and I know who I am dealing with.
This strategy only works because of the Law of Magnetism – We attract people that are like us!
· Strengths are amplified, but so are weaknesses.
· Buy in to a goal will be easy, but they will be less likely to identify potential pitfalls
· Easy to agree on the vision, but harder to identify when the team drifts from the goal
· Likely to be no chairperson to call team to order during distractions
The implications list will stretch further than the few points on offer here.
How does a leader with a team of similar members deal with weaknesses within the group? Here are a couple of thoughts n which your opinion and comments would be greatly appreciated:
1. Employ people to compensate for weaknesses:
So, you phone a recruitment centre and employ someone to fill the gap that exists within your team. This option opens up a whole host of questions for which I don’t have answers:
· Will the new person get the support and cooperation in order to correctly fulfil their responsibilities?
· By employing someone so “different”, are we not bringing strife into the team2. Equip team members to overcome the weaknesses:
Sending team members onto courses to equip them to fill the gaps seems like a positive way to address the issue. In this way, it’s still like-minded people working within the team, and the weakness will be resolved. Will it?
· Will the person on the course “get it” in order to bring back to a team that lacks and yet doesn’t know they lack?
· Will the person have the courage to correct or counteract weaknesses in the face of you, the leader?
· Will you, as the leader place value on the “new” viewpoints introduced by the team member?
3. Become the type of person you want to attract:
Maybe the leader needs to grow and adjust in order to attract the kind of person required to counter the weaknesses. In so doing the leader paves the way or all team members to grow and compensate for the weaknesses.
· How long will it take for the leader to grow, and for that change to be reflected within the team?
· It takes time and effort to “do” the strengths. Is there time and energy for correcting the weaknesses?
· What happens if you change your way which results in the loss of the entire team or key team members? Is that productive?
Maybe I am complicating the situation here. Maybe the solution is as simple as picking an option that would best suit your team and the situation.
Maybe the answer lies in Counsel. A number of prominent leaders have a guide or a coach that can offer advice and counsel, helping the leader and the team stay on track and accountable for their actions and decisions.