Would you like to be your own colleague?


I recently ran a team development session for a senior leadership group. It included an Executive General Manager and the Executive Managers that made up her team. From all indications (including the participants), it was a good session that had engagement from participants on how they were experiencing being a part of that team and how they wanted the team to act from that point forward. Action plans were made and accountability accepted. It was time well spent.

It’s now four weeks later and the session is redundant. That Executive General Manager has taken on a new portfolio and the Executive Managers are reporting to various different people.

The team that I worked with no longer exists.

That got me thinking…in the operating environment of many organisations, there are necessary adjustments of structure, titles, appointments and teams. Even if that’s not the case, people are part of many different teams simultaneously (I recently heard that an average CEO is part of 22 different teams).


What might happen if we worked on helping individuals becoming better team members instead of making inherently transient teams better? Would that be a more helpful and transferable capability in most businesses? What if everyone in a team knew what it meant to turn up as a good team member?

I suspect that they would then be able to articulate for themselves and others:

  • What is expected in this team at this time

  • What they need (from themselves and others) in order to bring their best individual contribution to the team

  • The areas that they want to get better at individually

  • How they can help other team members be better

There are people (often good leaders) who seem to be able to make every team that they are a part of better. It’s not a coincidence. One of the beauties of working on an individual’s awareness of how they contribute to a team is how this knowledge travels with that person across the teams that they are a part of. I think that it’s not necessarily a case of either/or in terms of team/individual development. It’s about how team development can accelerate individual development and vice versa.

So, my questions for you to ponder are:

  1. How many teams are you a part of?

  2. How could you be a better team member?

  3. What would you love (and hate) about being your own team mate?

  4. What are the behaviours and capabilities that you want in your team mates?

Look forward to hearing what you think.

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What a great article and self reflection exercise Keegan.
I’ve seen Managers hit their heads up against brick walls striving to improve the team , but not taking the time to work with the individuals , therefore never arriving.
This really explains why that does not work but working with the individuals can do.

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