Share this Page URL

The Barriers to Team Success 15 The role of the leader was discussed in the first chapter. Now let's look at how poor leadership can impede the team's success. Confusion in the Ranks If the leader doesn't lead, the team can't follow. Worse, if the leader leads badly, the team will perform badly. Let's look at how one team leader abdicated his leadership role. When Rick D. was appointed leader of a marketing development team, he studied books on team leadership, attended seminars, and asked advice of other leaders. He was convinced that his team would be participative, that he would give his members enough autonomy so they could use their talents and grow by making decisions on their own. When the team was assembled, Rick presented a broad outline of the team's purpose and asked them to determine what should be done and who would do it. When a member had questions about his role, Rick responded, "That's for you to determine." Theoretically, that's how a participative team works. But what happened? Some members selected aspects of the project that they felt competent to do and began to work on it. Others spent weeks figuring out their roles; still others began working on part of the project only to find that somebody else was doing the same thing. Without leadership, there was total confusion. It didn't take long for Rick's boss to note the lack of progress. When questioned about this, Rick responded that he was taught that giving team members autonomy would result in long-term benefit to all. What he failed to understand was that a project has to be completed in a timely manner. If a team has never done a project of this type before, it needs strong guidance from the leader, frequent feedback on progress, and active steps to keep