Does Your Team Need Clarity, or Camaraderie?

I was speaking with an executive last week about her leadership team’s effectiveness. “They’re all coming to me individually asking for clarity on where we’re going as a team, and clarity about their roles in the team. It’s frustrating, because I don’t have all the answers.” Sound familiar? 

Then she said that it’s a newly forming team and that there’s not yet a lot of trust between them. 

Ah.

That conversation got me reflecting on the most effective leadership teams I’ve worked with. What they all have in common is not clarity per se, but camaraderie. That’s ‘the mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together’ (according to the Oxford Dictionary).

When you have camaraderie, you don’t need to rely so much on having clarity. You’re more comfortable being in the unknown, because you’re in the unknown together.

Last week I wrote about Leadership is Walking Through the Fog. Building on that idea, it’s clear to me that walking through the fog is much easier when you’re walking with others. Just knowing that you’re not in it alone lets you breathe out, and move forward.

I see a lot of leadership teams who invest in trying to get real clarity of vision, purpose and strategy. Yet they spend precious little time on investing in the camaraderie. It’s task over relationship. At worst, chasing clarity becomes an excuse for not building those relationships.

In my experience, by putting camaraderie before clarity, the clarity comes easier.

Another take on this: maybe the clarity you’re seeking is the clarity that someone else has your back. 

What might happen if you deliberately dialed up your investment in your team’s camaraderie?

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