Over the years I have been part of many different teams, including leadership teams. Thus, I am fortunate to have many different team experiences. I guess I have observed it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. I am very grateful with those experiences. They will guide me on the next part of my journey, joining new teams on the 1st September when I start my new job.

I am enjoying an intermezzo right now; ‘in-between-jobs’. I am blessed to have the time to reflect and get ready for the next new adventure. And as I do so, I look back to see which experiences I need to take with me and which ones I should embrace, ‘look in the face’, and say goodbye to. Obviously throughout life, one absorbs and takes ‘lessons learned’ along. I believe that you need to be very active about remembering your experiences. Only in making them active, can you fully reap the benefits for future steps in life.

In all my recent jobs I had the responsibility to lead teams and communities, was member of management/leadership teams, learned about the difference between management and leadership, received substantial training, (got to) read inspiring articles and worked with some really awesome people.photo(28)

You can find so much online on teams, team development, the stages teams (can) go through, the role of individuals within a team, leadership, great leaders, etc. There is so much out there, which is wonderful. However, all this content will only really become meaningful if you experience them together with the people in your team(s).

I have learned five key lessons regarding (great) teams:

  • teams don’t form themselves, you need to build them pro-actively;
  • teams benefit immensely from diversity;
  • (leadership) training can provide great insights and instil new behaviour;
  • emotional and rational intelligence are equally important;
  • the (humble) leader matters and (s)he needs to create a safe environment of trust.

I realise that these lessons may speak for themselves. And you might even perceive them as ‘common sense’, if you have team (leadership) experience. However, I have observed that these lessons are often not respected or remembered and hence, not acted upon. That is detrimental to failing and/or dysfunctional teams.

I would not pretend to know it all. I know I don’t. I trust that is all right, as the best teams are those that are open to continuous exploration to improving their effectiveness. The best leaders are those who enable this kind of ‘learning’ environment. Works for me, as I see life ‘as a journey of on-going learning’.

And with this blog, I salute the Greenpeace International (GPI) Communications Department, the Greenpeace Communications Community and the recent leadership team I was a member of: the Senior Management Team at GPI.


3 thoughts on “Great (Leadership) teams – my lessons learned

  1. I will be starting as Communications & Marketing Director at IWA – the International Water Association, based in The Hague (though UK registered charity) – on 1st September.

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