The Anatomy of a Great Leadership Team

Building a leadership team that is aligned, accountable and productive is essential to the success of your organization but it’s where many companies often get derailed.

So how do you attract the A-Players to your leadership team? 

First, determine the structure of your team; How many? What are their roles? It will look different depending on the size of your company. If you have a small business it might include everyone in the organization. If you have a larger business it’s more effective to have 8-10 key players as the upper limit. Four to six will work as well. It’s also important to give the key players in your organization the opportunity to hone their leadership skills by giving them a team of their own to develop. And, you want to keep your eye out for emerging leaders and support their development.

There are two aspects of assessment that must be done to effectively determine the A Players in your organization:

  1. Performance
  2. Culture fit

In order to determine the cultural factors, having a clear list of Core Values as mentioned in my previous blog, “What are the Qualities of an Ideal Leadership Team and How Can You Develop Yours?, is necessary. Everyone in your organization must understand these core-values so they know what is expected of them.

As you build your leadership team it’s important to keep your team members performing, engaged and moving forward by encouraging:

  1. Communication
  2. Accountability
  3. Solution Focus vs. placing blame

I call this The Essential Tripod for Team Effectiveness.


95% of the companies I have worked with say that communication is the biggest obstacle to high performance and cultural excellence.

Communication is one of the main building blocks of execution and is defined as Meeting Rhythms in the Scaling Up Process.

There are two processes that can be built in immediately to enhance Communication and get things done:

  1. Using Parts of Speech whenever a meeting is held with one another or several.
  2. Regular weekly Accountability Meetings with team members (I will discuss this more in my next blog post).

Parts of Speech

  • Framing– an agenda for a meeting or conversation – what is to be discussed, preferred outcomes, how conversation will proceed
  • Illustration – use familiar examples to create reference points for understanding and engagement with the topic
  • Advocacy is the reason for the conversation. Often, it’s either not stated enough or in a timely manner, or it may become too much of the conversation. But it should always be understood and stated clearly to create trust.
  • Inquiry is not a series of questions you have about a person but rather what they think about what you are saying or the issue or idea you are discussing. You want to get their perception and point of view as part of the conversation. This is the Part of Speech used the least but is most important for engagement, participation and buy in.



It’s important to create engagement rather than competition within the team. Disagreements can occur of course and are part of a healthy engaged team.

Conduct weekly team meetings and at the end of each meeting pick one person to have a 15-minute call with during the week to discuss a goal and an action you will take to achieve it. Then conduct another call the following week to share progress on that action step and next steps. This begins the process of accountability to your peers and the willingness to be transparent to each other.

Solution Focus vs. placing blame

The first essential part of successful problem solving is to be Solution focused. Often, time is spent studying the components and details of the problem and placing blame on someone or something, all of which do not solve the problem.

Solution focus looks ahead to the result desired and the components that make up the positive result. It is an opportunity to create greater team conversation and communication.

I’ll be continuing the conversation on building an effective leadership team in my next article. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to share a challenge or success please be sure to leave a comment. I would enjoy hearing from you and continuing the conversation.

 Related Reading

What are the Qualities of an Ideal Leadership Team and How Can You Develop Yours?”, author, Patricia Heyman

Scaling Up; How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t, author, Verne Harnish

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable”, author, Patrick Lencioni

Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership“, author, Bill Torbert