Teamwork, the holy grail for any business venture and, in many cases, sporting achievement. But what does it entail and how does leadership relate to it? A recent article published by McKinsey Quarterly addresses the issues involved in good leadership and insightful bosses. Indeed, the potential for leadership to shine a team’s achievements and to protect its work during hard times is critical for the outcome of a good project, however large or small.

A 2009 Swedish study tracking 3,122 men for ten years found that those with bad bosses suffered 20 to 40 percent more heart attacks than those with good bosses.

The article is, however, also fairly direct in terms of the cost of failed leadership and the dangers it can carry. On a more positive note it also highlights the basics of human interaction, professional behavioral osmosis, and practical leadership that can really drive people forward. The simple studies and examples set forth in the article are insightful for both an employee and a boss, essentially for anybody who has ever worked in a team. We work together and interact together and the work, ultimately the end result, also get assessed as one. Though the issues of ‘credit where credit is due’ are mentioned in the article and the apparent ‘leadership romanticism’ bias that we all seem to suffer from is also highlighted, the article is still upfront upon the core purpose of a team endeavor: that of succeeding in the face of difficult situations.

If you think your employees are deadbeats, downers, and jerks, look in the mirror. Why don’t the best people want to work for you? Why do people who appeared to be stars when they joined your team seem to turn rotten?

The article is also careful to highlight and emphasize the hierarchy that bosses themselves face – that leadership is not just a silo occurring within a team but one connected back up by the team leader‘s own bosses and so forth. The example of ‘setting the example’ is a telling reminder of the input that we take on a daily basis in our professional and personal lives is one worth keeping in mind when confronted with upsetting behavior. Bad habits are easily learned but almost always difficult to discuss, let alone criticize. I do wonder how many organizations have undertaken the simple Taylor styled scientific management analysis of team meeting communication dynamics detailed in the article?

I strongly recommend this article to anybody keen on advancing their team dynamic or just seeking to avoid the common pitfalls in the professional arena.

Background Links
Why Good Bosses Tune In To Their People

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