A Supreme Leadership Challenge

Theresa May’s first task as a leader is to implement a plan she didn’t support.

No matter your opinion regarding Brexit and the new British PM, the situation in the UK is fascinating for students of leadership.

The ability of a team to ruggedly discuss options, to disagree, challenge, argue and examine is important. But even more important, and one of the hallmarks of a high performing team, is the act of uniting behind a decision once it has been made.

May has been clever in her appointments of senior colleagues – a mix of advocates from both sides of the Brexit debate, sending the message that ‘Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a success of it’.

Healthy teams disagree on big decisions. And sometimes leaders are over-ruled at the team table. But that, inherently, is not a problem.

Teams that are capable of rugged debate and then able to unite behind a decision, once the fierce debate has ended, are well placed. They make better decisions by fostering an environment that encourages critical thinking.

The problem comes when those who supported a jettisoned position are unable to swallow their pride and support the collective decision.

The UK has presented a supreme leadership challenge. For now, Theresa May is handling it nicely.

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