Patrick Lencioni teaches this best in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Leadership Team. I wrote about that book in a post in February of 2011, titled Leadership Team Health. The heart of what is in that book is contained in Lencioni’s Dysfunction Pyramid, shown here. The message is clear. Trust is the basis of success. Without trust there can be no Conflict. Without conflict there can be no Commitment. Without commitment there can be no Accountability. Without accountability there can be no Results. Or at least not the results you want. Best case, you are killing yourselves to get a modicum of results and it’s not sustainable.
We teach Patrick’s philosophy that open and honest conflict is a sign of healthy levels of trust in a leadership team. Everything starts with trust. If you don’t trust each other, no one speaks up. If you don’t speak up, you have boring, non-productive meetings. No one really agrees or commits to anything. You get a corporate “nod” when you ask if everyone is behind the decision you just announced. Nothing good can follow from there.
As a member of a leadership team, you must speak up for the greater good. If you are not comfortable doing so, learn how. There is always a difference in the saying and the doing of something. Here is an article in the Amex Open Forum about How to Disagree at Meetings.