Five reasons why organisations need to unlock the power of teamwork

21st May by Lee Robertson

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Why organisations need to unlock the power of teamwork

As the command and control leadership concept continues its fall from favour, we consider some of the key reasons why organisations should be shifting towards a business model which is based on teamwork and a collective leadership style.


In an increasingly complex and volatile global economy, organisations must adopt management development tools like coaching to unleash new strategies and practices to respond to market forces. The need is for companies to find ways of breaking down silos to become more agile and accountable to their stakeholders as purpose and process comes to the fore.

The collective leadership model is constructed around managers working together who have complementary strengths and competencies. The organisation operates with a flat management structure and connected networks where decision making is distributed and aligned with areas of responsibility. More inclusive, the team works collectively, and accountability is shared.

Data from the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report says that ‘the shift from hierarchies to cross-functional teams is already underway’ but that progress is slow. To move forward, Deloitte says organisations need to educate leaders on how to operate in cross-functional teams and reconfigure rewards and performance management to support team, not individual, performance. With these changes, more businesses will have the ability to respond quickly with faster decision-making protocols in place as a result.


According to Deloitte, there is also a proven link between teams and performance with its research suggesting that a team-based organisational model improves performance significantly. Citing Cisco, and Google as strong examples of how teaming is being executed effectively, both companies can move people around quickly and start and stop projects as required to ensure the business is delivering where it needs to, when it needs to.

The collective leadership style creates an environment where employees are better engaged, motivated and feel connected to the purpose of their work. The feeling of being valued and shared sense of ownership allows people to grow and develop and their contribution translates into greater productivity for the business.


Where a collective leadership framework exists, the organisation is seen as a community and the team’s role is to serve the wider ecosystem of colleagues, customers, partners and the wider society.

Teaming is proving to be an effective way of empowering teams to create added value for their stakeholders. The Deloitte survey singles out Liberty Mutual Insurance where its use of teaming has led to improved products. It sought to pool talent from different functions to achieve a more agile approach in developing products and onboarding customers. Liberty now has an entire management system to support its teams and it specifies how teams are formed, operate, measure themselves and communicate with others.


Keeping employees engaged and happy at work is a vital ingredient in achieving success. A teaming approach which harnesses coaching will enable employees to grow and realise their full potential as they contribute their own special talents to create a wider level of skill, knowledge and expertise for the business to leverage.

The most effective and high-performing teams have their foundations in a shared purpose and vision and the belief that they can generate their own solutions to respond to challenges and problems. Teams must also be built on mutual trust and recognition and an open and inclusive culture will help cultivate higher levels of commitment and engagement. Having security that they can learn from mistakes and grow together, those workforces which are empowered to make decisions of their own will yield superior results when it comes to performance and productivity.


Collective leadership is not a one-off event and is an ongoing process that happens over time and as Deloitte says, organisations need to embed team-based thinking internally, as well as in the broader ecosystem.

Conventional talent management schemes will become redundant as organisations refocus on giving employees the chance to grow from experience to experience. Change must come from the top and this shift will also need employers to alter the way they allocate budgets, train staff and reward people based on a team’s performance.

Striving for a culture based on collaboration will deliver many benefits for organisations and have a lasting legacy. Collective leadership provides a more efficacious way of doing business and those organisations using methods such as coaching to make the leap, will find themselves strongly positioned to do well in today’s increasingly uncertain economic and market conditions.