The quality of our teams discussions have definitely improved this week, as well as our understanding of the game, with our SHV increasingly gaining on the leading team.
I feel I have a strong influence over how my team performs. Drawing on a round of anonymous feedback we conducted within our team and interactions within my team, I now understand how my team perceives me. They appreciate my “large contribution” and I’m seen to be “good with numbers”, which supports my legitimacy in the CFO role. I am also combining this with my significantly higher “practice SHV” than other members, a generally successful record with past strategy suggestions and the confidence in which I present strategies. I feel that these factors facilitate my power over my team, which sometimes leads me to override the CEO’s position. I may just be rationalizing it to myself (justifying my confidence in my own opinion with perceived correctness of the rational behind it) but I don’t mind this occasional leadership takeover. Perhaps this is because it’s my view that is taking over, but I find myself rationalizing this as not being a bad thing as I am confidant that it is the right strategic direction. I feel that if other team members believe I am out of line, they have the responsibility to push back to let me know I’m crossing boundaries.
Katz (1955) talks about the three skills an effective executive must possess; technical, human and conceptual skills. Within the human aspect he states that we must be skillful in “accepting the existence of viewpoints, perceptions, and beliefs which are different from our own”. I feel that this is a really important idea to be more conscious of in future engagements as well my ability to actively decode “what others really mean by their words and behavior”, to strategically “communicate to others, in their own contexts” all while being aware of the conclusions others may be drawing from my behavior.
As I begin to notice this ‘power’, I have been interested to see how team members have responded to (relative) failures. I see myself as a calculated risk taker, always putting a lot of thought into any strategy I present to the team. So while attempting to stay open to adaptions, I generally believe that my strategy is the right way forward, and I present with conviction accordingly. When I feel push back from my team, I don’t always know if it due to individuals’ reluctance to be risk takers, if there is residual ‘burnt confidence’ from our previous rollovers’ (relative) failures, or if it is my inability to present my strategies in a way that logically and emotionally resonates with particular individuals. To be honest, I think it’s a healthy combination of all of these factors.
Katz (1955) decribes the concept of skill as “an ability to translate knowledge into action”. I understand that this doesn’t have to be my knowledge, and as a leader I believe that I its my responsibility to amalgamate and gathering the knowledge of my team for the best results. From now on however, I will be actively monitoring both my words and behavior in an attempt to understand how my team members perceive me and accept my proposed strategies. I believe that this will give me practice with how to facilitate better decisions from my team and avoid smothering creativity by over imposing my opinions on my team. I am driven to get the best decisions out of my team and if that means occasionally (carefully) dominating some conversations, that’s fine. And if it means stepping back and being open and adapting to a complete paradigm shift around my perception of the problem, that’s fine too. I just want to win, and this is the best strategy I can see to achieve that goal.
Katz, R. L. (1955). Skills of an effective administrator. Harvard Business Review, 33(1), 33-42