Balanced leadership is the key

By Jaime Babiera

It was again the time of the year for our company’s leadership training and team building. Like last year, it was filled with constructive activities and enlightening discussions that definitely opened our eyes to new perspectives. There was a lot to discuss, for sure. But in this column, let me focus on a simple reflection I was able to draw out from our previous getaway.

According to the facilitators, functional team cooperation can be easily achieved through transparency, receptiveness, and a couple of friendly gestures. Well, I couldn’t agree more. I firmly believe that any form of collaboration within a group will flow seamlessly if the team leader knows how to keep all the members in the loop, how to receive and put diverse suggestions to good use, and, most importantly, how to acknowledge the individual efforts given by each member, no matter how small or big they are. However, I don’t think authority should be missing from the equation. Just like the other elements mentioned above, the authority of a team leader has an essential role to play in this regard. Therefore, it must also be taken into account.

What I am trying to imply is very simple. As someone in charge, the authority of the team leaders to approve suggestions, make decisions, and deliver directives must be clearly established and recognized by the members. While everyone in a group is at liberty to collaborate in any way, there should always be one person who will take the seat behind the steering wheel and lead the way on behalf of the entire team. Otherwise, the leadership structure that highlights combined actions and active cooperation will not be effective simply because no one is there to put things in the proper order.

In essence, I am suggesting that balanced leadership is the ultimate key to championing teamwork and attaining promising results. When working with the group, leaders must maintain a significant boundary between reward and accountability, compensation and responsibility, and confidentiality and transparency instead of casually favoring one aspect over the other. All these leadership components are very important and must not be taken out of the picture. That is for certain. However, don’t forget that anything too much or too little can bring forth unfavorable outcomes. Therefore, the actual implementation of these components must be kept on an even keel in order to protect the best interests of the team.

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