Handling Team Performance Management in a Leadership Void

BY Tim Londergan
Featured image for “Handling Team Performance Management in a Leadership Void”

From our earliest memories of childhood education, we pick up on how the game is played. We play well; we are accepted. We engage with others; we form teams. Our team is successful; we, as an individual, are successful. However, there is no “I” in team. Consequently, the leader of the team achieves a status that is often outsized of their role. But what happens when that team leader is absent? In the shadow of today’s "great resignation," there are groups suffering from lack of team performance management, and the leadership void is unlikely to recover in the short term.

A lack of team performance management causes chaos

Much like a burning ember ignites a forest fire, untended turf battles in a rudderless work group can inflict serious damage. Jealousies, drama and hidden agendas threaten an otherwise productive work group. Suzan Bond, writing for medium​.com, contends that leadership voids are common. She cites a survey that says 32% of senior leaders have taken their role to fill a gap in leadership. However, there are situations when team performance management can become a black hole rather than an open space.

Team leaders play hard to get

Emerging leadership talent is easy to find when you identify personality traits. However, people with these qualities are often reluctant to step forward for the same reason they make great leaders. Guileless and empathetic, they may prefer to assume supportive, rather than leadership, roles. But when team performance management becomes critical to progress, their attributes are necessary to move the group forward. Therefore, managers need to Identify and train these individuals in a path toward filling this leadership void.

What does it mean to lead?

Here are 3 quotes from aspiring leaders recruited to do fundraising:

Well, I think it means not being afraid to roll up your sleeves every once in a while and doing some dirty work.” 

It’s when you take ownership of something and see to it that it’s completed well.”

When you coach your team to great success.”

Zach Shefska, the author of an article for FundraisingReportCard​.com, provided these quotes. Importantly, he featured the example below as well. In the following quote, the 22-​year-​old college student has a lesson in three parts for team performance management:

Leadership means a few different things. One, I think it means you bring others around you up. Great leaders have a way of supporting others and making them more productive and effective. Two, I think leadership means you put people in the right place at the right time. It’s tough, but when you help someone find their “groove” and you let them stay there, they excel. Third, leadership means you trust and respect those that you work with. If you don’t trust someone (or at least give them a shot), there is no way they can be a productive part of your team.”

Shefska offers a perspective from the Fundraising Report Card that can provide a refreshing look at how nonprofits operate better and smarter with advanced understanding of asset management.

How do your fill your leadership void?

Team performance management is often troubling but never insurmountable. In fact, the mystery does not rank among the secret of the pyramids. It’s simple to fill the void of leadership if you assess team members, determine the best candidate and support them in their endeavors. I’ll boil it down to three simple points from the quote above:

  • Bring people around you.
  • Put people in the right places.
  • Leadership means you trust and respect those with whom you work.

Photo by Alexis Fauvet on Unsplash