The Value of Teams


I am currently participating in a cohort class for my Doctor of Ministry degree. The topic is The Servant Leader and Team Effectiveness. We had a fascinating discussion today around the following question:

What factors have led to team oriented structures receiving more attention in recent decades?

There is no doubt that teams have become more popular in recent years. Even while traveling to this class I read an HBR article that highlighted the same thing. Teams have risen in value as a way to confront complex, challenging issues in all organizations.

Here are a few of the principles that we came up with in answer to the discussion question.

1. Thanks to technology we live in a flat world. It is no longer possible for one strong leader at the top to be the conveyer of all information. Everyone has access to more data than is imaginable. Therefore, the opportunities to have significant influence have greatly increased. It is both wise to garner a team for their contribution as knowledge experts and it is near impossible to keep people of influence down. The day of the knowledge oligarch is gone.

Teams can bring a necessary synergistic knowledge base.

2. There are more educational opportunities than ever before. It is vastly easier for a wider array of influences to gain the necessary credentials to be accepted as leaders. Online degrees are everywhere. The advance of the MOOC and accredited online degree programs bring a level of equality to the leadership playing field. The day of the credential oligarch is gone.

Teams can bring a wealth of educational credibility.

3. There is a greater need for leadership presence. As organizations of all kinds have grown, leaned into globalization, and become more complex there is a need for leaders to multiply their presence. It has become increasingly difficult for any one leader to cover all of the bases. It takes a team of leaders to bring a necessary leadership presence for clarity of direction and follower well being.

Teams can multiply leadership presence in effective ways.

There are more opportunities for more people to lead that ever before. It behooves a good leader to tap into teams as a way to utilize emerging leaders to solve complex and pressing problems. They can bring creativity, innovation, impactful presence, and help shoulder the load.

Why do you need a team?

(photo credit)

7 replies
  1. Rich Dixon
    Rich Dixon says:

    Perhaps we’re discovering the way we were originally wired. Despite the great American mythology, we weren’t created to operate as “self-made” individuals.

    It’s always about relationship and community.

  2. Norman Patnode
    Norman Patnode says:

    “It takes a team of leaders to bring a necessary leadership presence …”

    Gary, as I read this I wondered to what extent organizations use teams to create “temporary” structures as a means to overcome the deficiencies in their existing organizational structures?

    Thanks for the thoughtful article,

    • Gary Runn
      Gary Runn says:

      Thanks Norman for your comments and question. I think there is great value in temporary work teams to meet certain deficiencies. Those teams may become a part of a permanent solution or able to solve a current deficit that might also create a sustainable solution. What do you think?


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