Real leaders build teams that fire on all cylinders - Caroline Donaldson

I recently attended a business conference and heard a variety of business owners and leaders saying how challenging it is at the moment. What is interesting is it was not always about the economy or their sector being slow or there being no growth, but more about securing funding for the growth or getting enough of the right talent to make their plans happen.

I started my business in a recession and know there have always been challenges. Some are hard to predict, for example the pandemic or the financial crash and difficult to plan and forecast around. It got me thinking. One of my clients had their best year ever in 2022 and I had mine in the year just past. No idea why.

Another is under a lot of pressure in a very tight timescale to make a transition happen with no plan beyond the deadline; it just has to be done. Another is struggling as the sector is down and having to adapt and re-shape. What I know is that it is down to one thing in the end as to how they move forward in this uncertainty; leadership and specifically the top team leadership.

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I read somewhere that a high-performing team is a thing of beauty. When a team functions well, it’s like the engine of a finely tuned motorcycle or, my preference, a Porsche 911, operating with maximum efficiency, speed and, more often than not, crossing the finish line before everyone else.Taking a team to the next level requires special leadership – someone with patience, grit, and the ability to ensure each part works with all the others so the engine can fire on all cylinders. That’s the CEO. But they cannot do it alone. One CEO told me that they have a great team around them, people they absolutely know they can count on and trust to do what has to be done. Our work together is to fine tune that team even more to raise the performance bar.

Caroline Donaldson is Founder and Director of Kynesis Coaching, Donaldson is Founder and Director of Kynesis Coaching,
Caroline Donaldson is Founder and Director of Kynesis Coaching,

Creating inspired performance through teamwork is an evolutionary process that correlates directly to the connectedness of the people on the team. We know people are connected by purpose and by trusting their personal and professional relationships with one another.

We know we need a compelling vision shared passionately and supported by all on the team. If your team has lost sight of the vision, revisit it. And as importantly, clearly define the roles of each team member in line with the vision. Agree and define action item accountability and expectations. The team puts pressure on themselves to deliver on those commitments because they share the passion and they only want to succeed.

To create a foundation for high performance, building trust and rapport is a top priority. In a challenging environment do we take the time to nourish personal friendships and professional relationships? Build ways for the team to recognise and reward itself for every forward step.

What’s the secret? Never stop and find a common purpose.

Embrace selflessness and as CEO create the environment where every member performs to their fullest potential. Discover the value of different experiences, different insights, different backgrounds, and different skills.

Tune up your listening. Really listening to and empowering others will help you build a high-performance team. Bringing together everyone’s personalities and preferences to form a cohesive, productive team takes work, but the payoff can be huge – for individuals, the team, and the organisation. And it needs re-tuning – regularly.

Caroline Donaldson is Founder and Director of Kynesis Coaching,

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