Building a High Performing Leadership Team

eHealth Technologies blog: Jeff Markin, CEO, eHealth Technologies

“The task of a leader is to get his people from where they are, to where they have not been.”

-Henry Kissinger

These words by Henry Kissinger sum up the challenge in front of today’s leaders. Moving an organization into new territory can be daunting to some and at the same time inspiring to others. A focus of mine as CEO of eHealth Technologies is to transform our leadership team into one that Patrick Lencioni, in the Five Dysfunctions of Team, would call highly performing.

I know some would immediately say that their team is highly performing without considering what that means. How would you identify it if you had highly performing team? And how might you would develop one if you don’t? When I took on the role of CEO at eHealth Technologies I knew that we had the opportunity to achieve great things as a company, but only if the leadership team committed to building it.

In Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni shares how effective leaders leave titles and roles behind to come together for the good of the whole organization—not just its parts. Rather than the Head of Development or Operations representing a specific area, team members must consider the collective work of the team and how it impacts the organization. Individuals must come together to further the company’s strategy and performance, even if it works to the detriment of their functional area of responsibility.

So how does one develop a truly cohesive team dynamic?

  • Trust each other – Be vulnerable within the group–ask for help and rely on each other. This is the foundation from which an effective team is established.
  • Engage in unfiltered conflict – Extract and consider the ideas of all team members—even if they aren’t popular. Readily put critical topics on the table for discussion and resolution. Solve problems quickly without unnecessary posturing and back channel politics.
  • Commit to decisions and plans of action – Create clarity around decisions and priorities, align the entire team around common objectives, and move forward without hesitation – even when there is not absolute assurance of the outcome. A non-decision is still a decision and can cause paralysis and dysfunction.
  • Hold one another accountable – Ensure that poor performers feel pressure to improve, identify potential problems quickly by questioning one another’s approaches without hesitation, and establish respect among team members who are held to same high standards. Without this a culture of mediocrity is encouraged.
  • Focus on achievement of collective results – Retain and encourage achievement-oriented employees and encourage a team atmosphere that highlights the benefits for individuals who subjugate their interests for the good of the team. Everyone wins or no one wins.

I think it’s important for leaders to understand that in building a high performing team it is sometimes necessary to make changes in membership for the betterment of the group and the individuals. In fact, if done right, in most situations the individual who is having difficulties will opt to take themselves off the team because it is apparent that they are not fully onboard with the direction or not up to the challenge.

I am honored to be a part of a very inspiring leadership team at eHealth Technologies. Our team is highly focused on what is important, in a selfless fashion. They are fully aware of the strengths we have as a team and the need to always be mindful of the five success factors described above.