What are the elephants in the room?

In previous blogs,I shared two of the three obstacles that get in the way of smart leaders transitioning into a smarter team: White Water and Armour

In this blog, I’ll address the third: Elephants

Avoiding the elephant

What is and isn’t said in conversations, how it is said and how it is listened to, and what is happening to team members emotionally, are crucial for how efficiently and effectively teams perform. Conversations which do not generate new insights, innovative practices, effective actions and positive results are unproductive; they create and perpetuate costly communication breakdowns and waste. 

When leaders are at odds with each other, there is much that is avoided. Doubts not aired. Decisions not challenged. Questions not asked.

The elephant trumpets loudest when danger is afoot. Yet when it’s not safe, leaders move away from points of tension, rather than towards resolution. Protecting their assets, they default to blame, excuses and justification.

The elephant is always in the room when leaders show up believing they understand the situation better than others. When they are convinced that they are right and others are not. There is no room here for collaboration, it’s all about domination.

Ignoring the elephant doesn’t make it go away, it just gets larger and louder until a smarter team deals with it by dealing with the undiscussables. 

I invite you reflect on how these obstacles may be playing out within the team you lead and teams you may be a member of.

How safe do leaders feel speaking their truth and having the difficult conversations? What would it take to make it safe for all to speak more of their truth?

In today’s world, a ‘culture of teaming’ is the only thing your competitors can’t copy, so what would it take to make teamwork your competitive advantage?

To know whether teamwork is your competitive advantage, take the opportunity to assess your team against the 5 Disciplines of Smarter Teams. To contact Bernard please email him at or call him on +61 414 654 437.