The uncertainty that arose from Dominic Raab’s statement during the COVID 19 briefing on the 6th April in which he said the Prime Minister ‘still remains in charge of the government” from his hospital bed revealed a lot about the way decisions are made in the UK political system. He went on to say “we have a team which is making sure his direction & his instructions are being implemented & followed through.”

It’s worth looking at this approach to leadership & teams through the lens of a well-codified body of work that describes how a high Performance Impact is tightly linked to operating as a High Performing Team, defined as.. A small group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they are mutually accountable, and who are committed to each-others’ growth & success’

It’s fascinating to speculate on the inner workings of a leadership team such as the Cabinet & how well it is operating as an entity – from the outside there is evidence that significant power is held by a single individual (in this case the PM) & therefore consistent with a ‘Single Leader’ mode of operating. This has implications around the performance impact of that leadership team, particularly significant in these turbulent times which I’d describe as ‘VUCA with knobs on’.

Think then, for a moment, to your own leadership team, & consider how clear you are on your common purpose, how committed & aligned are its members, how do you operate & hold one another accountable for performance, how are you supporting one another to achieve your potential, & what’s the culture you’re role-modelling into your organisation?

Operating as a High Performing Team is a demanding ask – it requires a commitment to be deeply emotionally aware, articulate & intelligent, to be your best version of you, for individual agendas & egos to be put aside in service of the common good, it implies acts of service, it requires a commitment to challenge others on their unhelpful behaviours & appreciate & values others’ great contributions & efforts.

There is, however, a cost & investment in terms of time, energy, focus & emotional commitment but the rewards can be great. I’d argue that in the present climate, more than ever, we need High Performing Teams to provide the significant leadership that’s needed right now, and that applies at the global, national, organisational, departmental & operational team level. That investment is crucial & can have an immediate impact. A gently worded note from a current client leading within the COVID 19 crisis reads…

You would have been pleased to note the quality of the leadership team’s comms with our people and with each other; acknowledging the emotions, personal effects, and beliefs that we will get through this. It’s clear to me this has made a real difference to how we have responded’.

Deputy Director, Government Department

Do please get in touch if this resonates with you & your leadership world.