Recognising the “I” in Team

In today’s competitive business environment, organisations increasingly rely on teamwork to achieve superior results. Transformational leadership is known to encourage team workteamwork.

The concept of transformational leadership was first introduced in 1978 by James McGregor Burns in his book, "Leadership." In this book he defined transformational leadership as a process where "leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation."

The concept was developed further by Bernard M. Bass in his book "Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations", which was published in 1985. The eight characteristics of transformational leaders, according to Bass are:

  1. They are a model of integrity and fairness.
  2. They set clear goals.
  3. They have high expectations.
  4. They encourage others.
  5. They provide support and recognition.
  6. They stir the emotions of people.
  7. They get people to look beyond their self-interest.
  8. They inspire people to reach for the improbable.

When people work as a team they develop a shared understanding of their environment, including how they interpret their leader’s behaviour. The effect of a transformational leadership style on the team of those in an executive or senior management position is the creation of a better team working environment throughout the organisation, because of fewer role conflicts.

However, in any team situation individual team members will naturally compare themselves against each other. One thing they check for is whether their colleagues are getting special attention from the senior manager. If a team member believes that their senior manager “favours” them, and so pays special attention to them, then they feel that the work they are doing is meaningful work.

Knowing your work is meaningful is one of the key motivators that promotes higher personal performance. So senior managers need to remember that there is an “I” in their team and to get the best from the people they manage they have to develop and use transformational executive leadership skills whilst making each and every person feel that they are in some way special.