Leadership teams can learn about their own performance, says Karen Wise

As a leader, have you ever considered whether you really need a leadership team? This question is often ignored until the leadership team has become dysfunctional. 

This book begins with this question, followed by five further questions about the purpose and membership of a top team. The answers can provide insight into a team’s understanding of how well they are working together. 

The authors provide a template which, in their view, is the foundation of a successful team. Six necessary conditions are required: three essential (real team, right players and compelling direction) and three enabling (solid structure, supportive environment, coaching). 

The authors suggest not all six have to be in place when a team is formed, but evidence of the team’s potential to obtain them is a pre-requisite. The last section offers four key competencies for a top team to possess.

The book also describes four types of leadership teams (information, consultative, co-ordinating, decision making) and how they should be deployed. 

I would recommend this book to newly appointed chief executives and their top teams. Organisational development professionals will also find it useful. 

It’s realistic, recognising that the journey from a collection of senior managers to a high performing top team can be hard and painful, but ultimately rewarding.

Karen Wise is an HR consultant and coaching psychologist.


Are you up to speed with the latest management thinking? If you would like to review management journals or books for HSJ, email your suggestions to hsjresourcecentre@emap.com