The 5 Key Psychological Roles of a High Performing Executive Team

A large part of an Executive team’s working week involves  ‘firefighting’ activity, reacting to unplanned events, crises and problem issues. This can be as much as 40% but certainly is rarely below 20%. ’ So if we assume just 20% then that’s the equivalent of one day a week per team member, effectively ‘lost’ to reactive management thus stealing their time away from more focused, planned and productive activities. 

There is a critical need for boards to drive effective team working to reduce the impact of unforeseen events on productivity and performance. The Hogan Assessment framework enables teams to review their ways of working to achieve and sustain high team performance. One important aspect of a high-performing team is the roles they play when working together. There are two areas of importance; the formal role defined by an Executive’s job function and the informal or psychological trait. Both factors are as important as each other, yet the latter psychological characteristic is often ignored and rarely developed.

The following 5 informal traits are present and active in high performing teams.

1. Results; people who organise work, clarify roles, coordinate effort and provide direction for others.

2. Relationships; people who are concerned about morale and how team members get along. They are positive and optimistic, attuned to people’s feelings and good at building cohesive relationships.

3. Pragmatism; people who provide practical, hard-headed evaluations of ideas and proposals. They advocate pragmatic solutions and their views are not influenced by the need to maintain harmony. They are direct and grounded in reality. 

4. Process; People who are concerned with implementation, the details of execution and the use of process and systems to complete tasks. They are reliable, organised and conscientious about following procedures.

5. Innovation; people who recognise when conditions have changed and when the team needs to adapt. They spot trends and patterns quickly, enjoy solving problems and generating creative solutions.

Most Executive teams have an emphasis on results and pragmatism, thus ensuring a strategic focus and a practical way in which strategy can be achieved.   Yet most Executive teams have a ‘gap’ whether this is relating to one, two or all of relationships, process or innovation roles. By identifying an Executive teams psychological role-profile, team awareness and development can be worked on to ensure the gaps are identified and picked up individually and collectively going forward.

If you’d like more information on how we use the Hogan Assessment framework to help Executive teams achieve a step change in their team performance then please use the link below to access our White Paper Strategic Leadership Development – Evaluation and Effectiveness.



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