A new leader should avoid con­flicts when build­ing the team

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - REPORT ON BUSINESS WEEKEND - Hugh Latif, of Hugh Latif As­so­ciates in Vaughan, Ont., is a man­age­ment con­sul­tant and au­thor of a new book, Mav­er­ick Lead­er­ship. HUGH LATIF

In many ways, the po­si­tion of pres­i­dent of the United States is sim­i­lar to that of a chief ex­ec­u­tive and, just like any CEO of a cor­po­ra­tion, the new pres­i­dent should choose the team with great care. Now that the Amer­i­can elec­tion is be­hind us and the U.S. gov­ern­ment is mak­ing the tran­si­tion to the Trump team, there has been a lot of at­ten­tion about per­ceived con­flicts in­volv­ing the in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Make no mis­take, any con­flict of in­ter­est will di­lute con­tri­bu­tions even by those peo­ple who may be ex­pe­ri­enced and tal­ented.

For any ex­ec­u­tive leader, there will al­ways be chal­lenges when form­ing a team. There will also be pit­falls to avoid. I have seen these pit­falls too many times. It all comes down to trans­parency, in­de­pen­dence and clear lines of com­mand.

It is a recipe for dis­as­ter when board mem­bers are friends and fam­ily of the CEO. Such peo­ple tend to get too cozy and ac­com­mo­dat­ing to the per­son in charge and to se­nior man­age­ment. What hap­pens is you have a sit­u­a­tion where vested in­ter­ests col­lide. Think of Se­in­feld’s Ge­orge and his at­tempt to keep his re­la­tion­ships on the straight and nar­row. He called it “col­lid­ing worlds.”

In­deed, col­lid­ing worlds on the se­nior man­age­ment team are guar­an­teed to lead to prob­lems. So here are a few ba­sic rules for the new leader to take home. 1) Make sure team mem­bers have no con­flict of in­ter­est that could blur their vi­sion and in­flu­ence their judg­ment, which is why it’s best not to in­clude fam­ily mem­bers and friends. They can be ad- vis­ers, but not part of the team. Also, they should not re­ceive com­pen­sa­tion. 2) Look for those who pos­sess the right qual­i­fi­ca­tions, not nec­es­sar­ily those who are loyal. While it’s hu­man na­ture to go along with peo­ple you know and trust, let’s not for­get his­tory is full of in­ept, in­com­pe­tent peo­ple who were loyal to the chief. 3) If you are tak­ing over an ex­ist­ing team, eval­u­ate the ex­ist­ing mem­bers both as in­di­vid­ual play­ers and as team mem­bers and rank them ac­cord­ing to three cat­e­gories: keep­ers; ques­tion marks; need to be re­placed.

You want to knit to­gether team mem­bers who com­ple­ment each other and who stand united. The new leader may not be fa­mil­iar with these peo­ple or their records, which is why it’s good to seek the ad­vice of knowl­edge­able, in­de­pen­dent ad­vis­ers in de­cid­ing who will be on the team. 4) The leader must eval­u­ate char­ac­ter and tal­ent, but char­ac­ter is more im­por­tant. Rep­u­ta­tion is what you do when ev­ery­body’s watch­ing, but char­ac­ter is what you do when no one is watch­ing. While team mem­bers will help you achieve ob­jec­tives for the or­ga­ni­za­tion, you, as head of the team, are re­spon­si­ble for their per­for­mance and be­hav­iour. Se­nior team mem­bers can al­ways sur­round them­selves with tal­ent, but if team mem­bers lack char­ac­ter or in­tegrity, all the tal­ent in the world won’t help. Just look at what hap­pened to En­ron or to Richard Nixon’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.