Is your team a safe place?

Teams are the primary unit of performance in all organisations. Only through teamwork can leaders combine different but complementary skills, knowledge and perspectives to identify and seize synergy opportunities, overcome difficult obstacles and achieve challenging objectives.

Yet while we acknowledge the power of teamwork, why is it still so rare across many organisations? In my previous blog, I shared the first of three obstacles that get in the way of smart leaders transitioning into a smarter team: White Water, Armour and Elephants. 

In this blog, I address the second obstacle: Armour

Is your team a safe place?

Teams rise and fall on the quality of their working relationships and yet, why are many leaders often very careful about what they say and do? It’s a natural defensive reaction when trust is absent.

Leaders who operate in a competitive group are always watching their back. Fearful of being shown up, or betrayed, the last thing they will do is to admit to mistakes and ask each other for help.

The group is not a safe place to be when hidden agendas are at work. Power play divides and real decisions are made outside the group. 

Trust is fundamental to every functional relationship and without it, group members focus on what they can control rather than what they could accomplish together. 

With the emphasis on individual priorities and responsibilities, there is misalignment to a common purpose. There are no agreed, or consistently demonstrated, ways-of-working together. Interdependence is not part of the vocabulary. 

A group of leaders protect their backs. Smarter leadership teams don’t need armour.

What is the level of trust amongst the leadership team? What would it take for greater trust-based relationships to develop?

To find out more about how Bernard enables groups of smart leaders to transition to become smarter teams, please email him at or call him on +61 414 654 437. To know whether team work is your competitive advantage, take the opportunity to assess your team against the 5 Disciplines of Smarter Teams. Contact Bernard to discuss further. The only sustainable competitive advantage you have, is your culture of team work.