FBLI Members Learn How to Create and Lead Accountable Teams

It was a dreary, rainy Thursday but that couldn’t keep the most enthusiastic FBLI members from meeting at Marquette University to hear Eric Coryell of Core Connections talk about how to “Create and Lead Accountable Teams.”

Coryell began his presentation by discussing the traditional organizational structure and how it was created to help leaders maintain control and manage accountability. However, he challenged the workshop attendees to think differently saying that in today’s fast paced work environments teams where the leader has the majority of the accountability are too slow and unresponsive to customer needs.

Coryell suggested that highly functional teams have a clearly defined and accepted purpose; they regularly measure if that purpose is being achieved or not, they consist of competent people and capable processes, and above all they have a high degree of shared fate. Accountable teams have this plus they also deal with their real issues together as a team. Once that happens a natural commitment to each other’s success occurs and the team starts delivering exceptional results.

He then went on to discuss “Bion’s Theory of Herd” which basically says a connection to a group (be it a family, friends, co-workers, etc.) is a requirement for human survival, and that all our individual behaviors in a group setting are driven by our fear of separation.

For this reason, Coryell argued that is it imperative for teams to be able to address real issues in a proactive manner that is constructive versus destructive. Coryell said that the best way to do this is by bringing issues to the team in a group confrontation versus a one-on-one confrontation so team members can search for the truth and work together for attainable solutions. He also encouraged all of the workshop attendees to not permit the teams in their organization to talk behind each others backs, run to the boss for solutions or simply ignore problems until they escalate to explosions.

Other tips Coryell provided are that in effective teams everyone must speak on their own behalf (not on the behalf of others or in a hypothetical third person) and that people should speak in statements rather than questions.

Coryell wrapped up his presentation by talking about how most teams look to the leader to solve their problems. If the leader effectively does this than the group becomes more leader dependent.  f the leader fails to meet the team’s expectations than the group turns on the leader. Neither are desirable scenarios. The most effective leaders make it clear which decisions are theirs versus the teams. He concluded by saying that in order to truly lead, the leader must stand for something bigger than themselves.

For more information on building functional teams in your organization, contact Eric Coryell at ecoryell@wi.rr.com or 414.840.5704.