why team leadership is so painful

This past week was a hard one.  Maybe you can relate in your home, family or place of work.  When I have a week like this one, I tend to ask my self certain questions: “Am I really making a difference?” “Do I really want to be here and do this?”  “Are we really making progress or just saying we are?”    I know you have been there too.  


Oftentimes when we are working with others, it kind of feels like a warehouse remodel.  It’s as if we went downtown, purchased a building, and then began to renovate it.  When you start tearing down the walls, inspecting the foundation and removing fixtures, you begin to find ten more things that need to be addressed.  The work is more complex, involves unexpected challenges and quickly becomes expensive. This isn’t really all that different from the realities I experience in team leadership.  


Why do you think team leadership can feel so painful sometimes?   What is it about us, that when we are trying to work together with others, we sometimes experience the greatest friction?  I decided to write out some on what is needed to stay together. Below is my reality in working with a team, maybe you can relate also:


Thought #1: Team Leadership Patiently Communicates

It’s easier to navigate as a jet ski than as a cruise ship. Quick decisions and then the communication of those decisions can create new pain points within an organization or even a family.  Being committed to clarity and making sure others understand the ‘why’ takes time.  Being patient usually cost us something.  It can be painful to wait.   


Thought #2: Team Leadership Progresses Calmly

Progress can often feel excruciatingly slow on a team. It’s normal for a leader and a team to see the final destination and want to get there now.  Working together often can feel like you are only moving at a snail’s pace.  The work here is calmly.  When things don’t go our way, it reveals what is really going on inside of us.  Tensions may rise. This is normal.   Stay the course and keep moving forward….calmly.


Thought #3: Team Leadership Promotes Confidence

Honoring every teammate’s viewpoint is sometimes painful and frustrating.  We all see things differently. Yielding to the wisdom of the team takes time and a great deal of self-control. Getting to the last 10% of truth only happens with authentic trust.  When there is cohesive, honest dialogue, there is less politics, more accountability, and effectiveness increases.   Resist the urge to micro-manage and control all outcomes.  Speak honestly but with a heart that we are all on the same team. 


Thought #4: Team Leadership Protects Culture

Team leadership is rare but invaluable.  It’s an extraordinary gift when you experience a true team that feels like a family. When we know that those in the room truly give us the benefit of the doubt and have our best interests in mind, incredible freedom transpires.  As a result, honest dialogue is received and the entire team, organization benefits.  Your culture is worth protecting.  When you have a healthy culture, your teammates embrace your strengths and weaknesses. You all experience true accountability and care.   The team walks in oneness.  


You may be in an environment right now that you truly love and enjoy.  You believe in the mission and purpose, and you see the difference all of you are making together.  However, it often feels so painful, frustrating, and the pace in which you are moving is too much.  It could be time to push pause, reflect and regroup.  We all get off track sometimes and need to be reminded of the truths above.   Work through the tensions and the emotions.  Oftentimes it is worth it. Breakthrough is just around the corner. 


It’s my heart and passion to help leaders live out their calling and flourish. I believe your best days are before you.  It’s time to thrive. Let’s do it together. You are not alone. Click here to set up a Discovery Coaching call.