Leadership "Teams" LO12985

Robert Bacal (rbacal@escape.ca)
Sun, 23 Mar 1997 00:42:23 +0000

Replying to LO12977 --

On 22 Mar 97 at 10:26, Roxanne S. Abbas wrote:

> I have been doing more listening/lurking than contributing lately, but
> now, in time of need, I'm back to ask for your help. I'm working with a
> large electric cooperative that is looking for ways to improve the
> cooperative behaviors among their Leadership Team.

The last sentence might be a key (hang in there for a moment).

> My question is whether there may be other structural, systemic or cultural
> obstacles that we should be looking for.

My experience regarding cooperative behaviour is that there are a number
of cornerstones to it, and I think you have identified some of them. One
thing you might consider. It is possible that the participants actually
lack the skills both verbal and cognitive to behave cooperatively, even if
the system were to support it.

We've been playing with the notion that due to a number of factors,
including how language is learned, societal norms, etc, that most people
are lacking in this area of skill. Add to that the possibility that those
that succeed in organization may do so, in part because of their ability
to compete in the arena, and you have an explanation as to why executives
may not be very good at cooperative behaviour, language and action.

This may seem far fetched but my work with clients suggests that it is
indeed a possiblity, perhaps even probable.

> Most of the reading that I've done identifies the individualistic and
> competitive personality traits of executives as the primary reason that
> leadership teams fail to gel.

That's one level of analysis, and one that may not be helpful since it
isn't likely that an external force can have much impact on personality. I
see it somewhat differently, and prefer to focus on behaviour and skill
rather than trait.

Ps. We have just set up a bulletin board section at our web site to
discuss communication/conflict/cooperation type stuff, particularly with
respect to the behavioural skill level rather than the more abstract

If anyone is interested it can be accessed at:


It's been available for about one hour <grin>

Robert Bacal, Institute For Cooperative Communication, rbacal@escape.ca
Visitour Resource Centre for articles on mgmt.,training,communication, and defusing hostility
at http://www.escape.ca/~rbacal *Now CHAT online with other visitors!
Phone: (204) 888-9290


"Robert Bacal" <rbacal@escape.ca>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>