These notes were taken from the leadership/board training at the National Business and Professional Women’s Conference in Tulsa, OK on July 13-14, 1995. Tecker Consultants presented the training specifically designed for BPW/USA. The training was divided into two segments. The first segment presented the concept of a team and how to be an effective team leader. The second segment presented useful leadership skills while serving for or on a board. ~ Sylvia Valine, BPW/WA President-Elect

In order to lead, one must have a TEAM to lead.

A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

There are six basic elements that comprise a team. The size of a team can be from 2 to 25 members with a common purpose that is shaped in response to a demand, opportunity, or charge. The team has a common purpose which is translated into specific performance goals and implemented through clear communications and constructive conflict within the team. A common approach within a team must be set. This approach encompasses who will perform a task, how schedules are set and adhered to, what skills are needed, how continuing membership in the team is to be earned, and how the team will make and modify decisions. A team must have complementary skills and be mutually accountable through commitment and trust.

A team…
A team is formed by a common purpose or goal.
A team brainstorms on how to attain its objectives.
A team sets the guidelines for implementation (normalize).
A team performs as a team using the ideas it came up with and agreed to through brainstorming while following its own guidelines for implementation.

The team must also have certain values to be viable and vital. Teams have a dual focus in that they focus not only on the task bu also on the process. For example, if a team is truly a team, all aspects and tasks to complete a goal are carried out through a smooth process of cooperation and coordination between team members towards a specific end. Therefore, a team must have a basic discipline in order to perform. To be an effective team, each team member must:

  • Encourage listening,
  • Give the benefit of the doubt,
  • Provide support to fellow team members, and
  • Recognize achievements of fellow team members

Once a team is formed, a LEADER emerges.

Leaders are not born, but are developed through acquisition of certain skills, opportunities, reward, and mentorship. Successful leaders are those individuals who:

  • Have a commitment beyond themselves,
  • Share the vision and stay true to it,
  • Balance the need for risk-taking and change with prudent decision-making,
  • Use knowledge-based principles as they exercise their responsibilities,
  • Build consensus as they move through decision-making,
  • Exhibit respect and good will towards team members,
  • Accept responsibility for, and follow through on, their decisions, and
  • Develop future leaders

Leadership is challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging the heart.

A leader must:

  • Portray a clearly articulated sense of mission as the focal point of commitment.
  • Create a culture that motivates.
  • Nurture a team of individuals that are involved and committed.
  • Ensure that the team is Fast, Flexible, Focused, and has Fun.

As part of a board, a leader must understand that the organization’s Mission is the team’s foundation, and team members must understand their rights and responsibilities. A board member handles conflict effectively and productively based on common ground rules that all agree to and understand. Last, but most important, once a decision has been made by a board, all members (whether opposed or not) agree and promote the decision as a team. The board then takes the approved decision and functions to approve outcomes to be accomplished, follows through that the desired outcomes are achieved, and ensures that resources necessary for achievement are available and used efficiently.

Lastly, leaders motivate and inspire team/board members to go beyond that is required and gladly volunteer their services. Individuals volunteer their time and effort to…

  • Network with other professionals
  • Gain competencies and visibility that enable them to move forward professionally
  • Be recognized and acquire status
  • Develop new skills and use their knowledge of these skills
  • Participate in enjoyable activities
  • Feel useful and needed by helping others
  • Give their life purpose and significance
  • Use their leisure time constructively