Teamwork at the top – individuals working in harmony together towards a common end – gives an organization an enormous strength. It should so simple and so obvious. But it seems strangely difficult to achieve. Organizations lacking in it exhibit some well-known symptoms: intrigue, politicking and back-biting. Much of their energy is turned inwards upon itself in these internal feuds, clashes of ego and turf-wars. A knock-on effect in the organization can always be felt, like earth tremors spreading out from the epicentre. “When the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled down”, as the African proverb puts it.

How do you achieve teamwork skills at the top? The first area to look at is your own role. Let’s assume, that you are in a strategic leadership role or, in other words, you’re the leader of a discrete organization. Is your leadership of the whole vested in you alone, or do you share the overall responsibility with a colleague? In British business terminology, are you chairman of the board and chief executive ( officer ) or managing director? Or do you hold only one of these roles?

Splitting the strategic leadership role may seem odd, but there are two principal arguments for doing so. First, especially in a very large organization, there is too much work for one person to do on their own. Second, good corporate governance demands it. Since, in Lord Action’s well-known words, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, the chief executive should be monitored by a yet more senior leader, who chairs the board of directors, governors, trustees or the lick – the chairman, say, supported by some non-executive directors.

Certainly strategic leadership without the substance of the power to act, hedged in by only the minimum restrictions, becomes a most frustrating business. Unlike the proverbial gift-horse, you should always look a strategic leadership role carefully in the mouth before you accept it.

Nauka Shah, the author, is the founder of A website dedicated to helping strategic leaders for his strategic leadership. She has written other leadership articles, press releases, leadership books, and has leadership videos on leadership development, motivation, self improvement, and organization development. Her mission is to help others all over the world succeed in their own business. To read more of her leadership articles and leadership tips visit her website at to learn how to develop leadership quality.

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