Which Team Has Precedence?
If you work in an organization, most likely you belong to these two teams:
First, you belong to the team you lead - which is composed of your direct reports and yourself. This is the team you lead.
And second, you also belong to your direct supervisor's team - which is composed of your direct supervisor, your peers, and yourself. This is the team you report to.
Now, in the way you actually deal with your boss, in the way you actually lead your team, and in the way you actually do your work; which team has precedence over the other team? The team you lead or the team you report to?
In other words, do you give precedence to the team you lead over the team you report to? Or do you give precedence to the team you report to over the team you lead?
Please Note: I am NOT asking you which team you think should have precedence. Rather, I am asking you how you actually behave - I am asking you, "in your real working life, which team has precedence over which team?"
I am NOT asking you what you think - I am asking you how you actually behave and work.
Think about it and answer this question before you continue reading - because this situation has critical implications.
The team you lead is the product of your leadership and management abilities. The team you lead is the product of your own effort - you have worked very hard to build this team. To use a metaphor, the team you lead is like your own child - we parents love, protect, and nurture our own children.
For you - and for any manager - it is very natural and human to get a stronger emotional connection and attachment to the team you lead than to the team you report to.
For you - and for any manager - it is very natural and human to perceive and conceive the team you lead more important than the team you belong to.
This is all fine and well.
Paradoxically however, what is NOT fine and well is to give precedence to the team you lead over the team you report to - regardless of the fact that for you (and for any manager) this is very natural and human.
I repeat - the team you report to must have precedence over the team you lead (the team you report to must come before the them you lead).
Why? The team you lead must be aligned to the team you report to - if it were the other way around, it would be impossible to achieve organizational alignment (and your company's strategy would be useless).
I have asked this question to hundreds of managers - literally, and when I first ask this question, over half of them tell me that the team they lead has precedence over the team they report to (no wonder so many companies struggle to achieve 100 per cent alignment).
Nevertheless, once these managers think about this question, they understand the correct answer right away.
It is a simple question of awareness - but an important one though.
Thanks to your emotional attachment and commitment to your team, you are able to reach your team's goals (your engagement to your team is paramount - without it, it would be very difficult to build a high performance team).
But no matter how strong your emotional attachment to the team you lead is, the team you report to must come first - always.
It is a question of organizational alignment - it is a question of results (in this case, it is NOT a question of emotional attachment).
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See you next month!
Jose Luis Romero - Publisher
February 7, 2012. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month