Many companies are looking at a new normal and innovative opportunities in the wake of an ongoing Covid 19 situation. To take advantage of these opportunities, you rely on a flexible and focused leadership team, with a solid foundation built on trust.

We have put a particularly demanding time behind us, and although we are not out of the woods yet and  will note the effect of Covid-19 for a long time to come, the cautious optimists are now starting to plan for a brighter future. Many companies find that the time has come to reflect on key learnings on how the situation has been and is being handled and discuss what it takes to bounce back stronger and better when the opportunity arises.

A key prerequisite to achieve success in the wake of the corona crisis is a competent and effective leadership team that works together successfully. Through conversations with clients and leaders recently, we have identified some of the most important characteristics of highly functioning leadership teams in times of crisis and for the new normal:

  • Having established a clear common purpose – starting with the why!
  • Frequent meetings with a clear and actionable agenda.
  • Ability to turn around rapidly- focusing on short term and long-term goals.
  • Mobilization of resources within the leadership team.
  • Ensure the team is focused on the key goals of the leadership team and relate these back to the “why”.
  • Vigilant and flexible attitude of all team members.
  • Being a “team” and not only a group of leaders.
  • High degree of trust within the leadership team.

We recommend evaluating the leadership team’s functioning both in regard to the crisis but also in your current state, to consider what you did right, what can be improved and how the leadership team is positioned now. This will give you useful insights that you can use moving forward.

Find the thermometer

Not literally, of course, but a regular measurement of the leadership team’s functioning (temperature) is one of the simplest and most effective measures you can implement to ensure good flow and interaction in the leadership team.

It is therefore important to do a continuous assessment of how the leadership team is working in relation to the goals and purpose you have set. Such assessments are essential to maintaining and improving the effectiveness of the team.

Ask yourselves three simple questions on a regular basis

  1. What works well?
  2. What can we do better?
  3. How are we going to do this?

By regularly assessing your functioning  you ensure that the leadership team is focused on continuous learning and development, learning from experience, utilizing a flexible mindset and the right focus– qualities that will be even more important than ever to reach new targets in 2021.

Trust is key

Trust is the key for well-functioning leadership teams, and one of the most destructive factors if it is lacking.

A lack of trust within the leadership team often leads to one or more managers becoming passive and holds back potentially valuable input and ideas. Thus, the potential of the leadership team is not exploited to the fullest, individual leaders’ engagement falls, and the way back becomes more challenging.

One of the most important things you can do as leaders is therefore to spend time getting to know each other well. This will strengthen the relationships between you and build a mutual sense of psychological safety in the leadership team.

Before Covid 19, when everyone was in the office meeting over the coffee machine, had physical meetings and a chance to meet outside of work, it was easier to connect, get to know each other better and build trust. A key to building trust is spending time together. So how are we going to build trust in the digital room?

Using the first five minutes of leadership team meetings to connect is an easy way to create better relationships and trust. It can for example be done by taking a round robin at the start of the leadership meeting to check in on a personal note, asking how everyone is and ensuring everyone is involved rather than jumping right into the agenda.

Research suggests that when we show vulnerability through sharing not only your successes but your challenges and even mistakes, we build trust. It shows we are all humans.

Another important factor for building trust is that the team members are open and accessible to growth through feedback. Leadership meetings are a good opportunity to give each other feedback, which is also important for building trust. At the end of your meeting, take the opportunity to tell others in your team how they contribute and something specific you have noted during the meeting.

Transparency is a key factor to building trust both in leadership teams that meet physically and especially digitally. Utilize structures and tools that support the teams’ collaboration and sharing of information. There are a variety of workflow management apps and tools that are helpful for keeping things on track, seeing progress, involvement, and also holding each other accountable.

So building trust can also be done in the digital room – the same principles apply here:  Spend time together digitally- look at each other- ensure you have the cameras on, ask for and give feedback, be curious about each other, pick up the phone and speak together, utilize structures and tools that support transparency and maybe more important than ever – have extra focus on clarifying mutual expectations along the way since in the digital room information is limited.

«If I had to pick the one thing to get right about any collaborative effort, I would choose trust. Yes, trust. More than incentives, technology, roles, missions, or structures, it is trust that makes collaboration really work. There can be collaboration without it, but it won’t be very productive or sustainable in the long run.»
Larry Prusak, Senior Advisor and Faculty, Columbia University, author, Working Knowledge.

Invest in leadership team development – it pays off

To fulfill the leadership team’s overall mission, the pursuit of operational objectives (the “why”) must be balanced with a focus on the process (the way you work together) within the team.
Research shows that high-performing leadership teams are characterized by a conscious focus on both these areas. They focus on the team’s overall performance, engagement, structure, development and have a shared responsibility for goals and results. Understanding group dynamics and how to move forward in your development is key.
The most vital thing your leadership team can do is therefore to invest in your own development.
Start with the basic elements that need to be in place to build a solid and efficient leadership team. Assess the effectiveness of your own team, identify the areas where the team works well and highlight specific areas that require an extra focus if you are going to perform even better as a team in order to support the organization thrive.

Identify your leadership team’s strengths and development areas

It is not always easy to put your finger on what is missing, or does not work, when you’re a member of the leadership team yourself. Therefore, it is a good investment to be supported by an external facilitator – in combination with the Group Development Questionnaire (GDQ) tool. The GDQ is an instrument that accurately assesses group effectiveness and productivity and supports the team identify effective strategies to increase team productivity.

GDQ is an internationally recognized and scientifically proven tool originating from the “Integrated Model of Group Development” model and is based on research by psychologist and professor Dr. Susan Wheelan. Her research shows that groups move through 4 different phases as they mature. Her research was conducted on over 12,000 working teams worldwide.

Her research showed that teams which are more cohesive, well-functioning and more mature have improved results. According to the research, mature teams in the fourth phase of team development have:

  • more surviving patients in emergency rooms
  • more satisfied customers in the service sector
  • produced more goods in industrial companies
  • manage money better in the financial industry
  • students in elementary school performing better on national tests.

MentalKapital ICG supports businesses and organizations in the development effective leadership and high-performing leadership teams. MentalKapital ICG in Norway is certified in GDQ, and actively use this method when facilitating development in leadership teams and teams’ productivity, effectiveness, and interaction with great results. This method is unique in terms that the process allows the team self-examination and development goals are owned by the team. The facilitators main role is to accelerate the team’s desired development through the support of GDQ, digital learning tools and an engaging workshop process.

We would like to tell you more so get in touch!


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