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Thinking about leadership alignment

April 8, 2016 | by Paul Greasley

A leadership team is well aligned when all members of the team work together to accomplish mutual objectives. Leadership alignment is crucial. You have arrived at your current situation because you were aligned with everything that brought you here. That’s a good thing if you like where you are at the moment. It’s not such a good thing if your leadership environment is characterized by chaos.

Leadership team alignment distinguishes one organization from another. Properly aligned teams and their organizations function well in their operating environments. Organizational potential is achieved because the leadership team is in sync on key issues. They know how to work well together and appreciate their different leadership styles.

Leadership alignment is hard work

It takes time and intentional effort to achieve and maintain organizational alignment. Here are some things to consider as you think about what leadership alignment looks like in your situation:

1. Well aligned leadership teams lead vigorous organizations. There is a culture of healthy engagement and organizational members perceive they are mutually aligned with organizational leaders.

2. Leadership teams communicate clearly and there is clarity of organizational purpose. The result is that organizational efforts produce desired outcomes.

3. Alignment is a dynamic concept that changes with time and circumstance. Leadership teams are sensitive to and anticipate necessary changes.

4. Leadership alignment can become too rigid when organizational processes restrict resourcefulness and over define necessary tasks. Personal creativity and organizational innovation are byproducts of good leadership alignment.

5. Proper alignment focuses on the desired end result. Strategic plans are created that enable achievement of shared objectives.

Leadership misalignment is easy

Leadership misalignment is not a good thing. It doesn’t take a lot of effort for a leadership team to drift toward a place where organizational life becomes toxic.

1. A leadership team is misaligned when organizational objectives are contrary to God’s eternal purposes. They fail to perceive activities that God is already encouraging by his blessing and favor and move in the opposite direction.

2. Misalignment feels a lot like confusion and ineffectiveness. Organizational efforts are inefficient and fail to produce the intended results.

3. Fear of healthy conflict quickly diminishes leadership alignment. There is a need for reasonable debate and differences of opinion in order for a leadership team to discern the best way to move forward.

4. Miscommunication of organizational values and principles results in cultural misalignment. When this occurs decisions are made and policies are established that conflict with desired goals and objectives.

Leadership realignment is necessary

Leadership teams will inevitably experience times of misalignment but they know what to do to discover and correct those awkward moments. Even well aligned leadership teams regularly find even small disconnects because they are looking for them. They maintain a transparent working relationship that fosters good communication.

Good leadership alignment can be maintained by an ongoing process that involves assessment of current organizational performance, purposeful engagement in diagnosing potential misalignment, and a clear commitment to fine tuning essential processes and behaviors.

The benefits of good leadership alignment ripple through an organization in the present and well into the future.

Paul Greasley

Paul E. Greasley holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and is an experienced servant leader, a retired aerospace engineering manager, a big rig driver, an active community volunteer, an adjunct professor and an entrepreneurial business owner.

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