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Stakeholder view. Team 360 View

Include your stakeholders by using a 360-degree team assessment

As a leader you might be used to draw on a 360-degree analysis to enforce your personal leadership. To look at your leadership through different eyes and thereby observe something you could not have caught sight of from your own perspective.

But what about your leadership team? What vital information would a 360-degree team analysis provide for you who are commonly responsible for running and developing your company?

3 ways to include the stakeholders

Including internal and external stakeholders and their view on your productive and relational team skills is equally essential to the continued development and common quality of your team as the individual 360-degree analysis is to your personal development as a leader.

There are many ways of including the experiences, thoughts and needs of your stakeholders. Here is three for inspiration:

  1. Invite stakeholders for a visit
  2. Game of chairs
  3. Use an online assessment

Ad 1) Invite stakeholders for a visit

If you invite your stakeholders to join your table and honestly ask their advice you can build a trustful relation that will provide the vital information you need to enlarge your own picture. It might be internal stakeholders such as employees, other parts of the company or the board of directors. It might also be external stakeholders such as key costumers, suppliers, partners or legal or advisory agencies.

Relevant questions could be:

  • What is it our job to deliver?
  • What are we currently doing right or wrong to fulfill our mission?
  • What defines our collaboration internally and in relation to you?
  • What should we learn to fulfill our mission in the future?

Ad 2) Game of chairs

You could also pretend to have a visit from your primary stakeholders when you host a leader team meeting. You will be surprised at how much new you will become aware of from adding some empty chairs around your table and in this way invite your stakeholders’ voices into the discussion.

If you take turns in occupying the “stakeholder-seat” it will help you to put yourself in the shoes of others and in this way discover things that you are usually blind to.

Ad 3) Use an online assessment

It can prove difficult to obtain precise, direct and relevant information from the outside world. Especially if you are at chief executive level. Too often the feedback is vague and indirect. Not concrete.

To overcome this obstacle an online based 360-degree team assessment could be the solution. I suggest “Team 360 View™” created by Team Coaching International.

It provides valuable information on how you are perceived – on several parameters – by those who you are often in contact with. Compared to visits or Game of chairs, the online test provides the opportunity to expand and clarify your questions to gain more knowledge in depth as well as on numerous subjects.

The assessment will provide a report from which you can begin your own discussion, or you can invite your stakeholders to take parts in the discussion based on the report.

New opportunity for learning and growth

By comparing your own opinions of the primary tasks, strengths and weaknesses of the leadership team with the results of the assessment a new and clearer picture of what already works and what needs improving to succeed as a leadership team occurs.

The goal is not simple bottom line but to reach the full potential. And you need help to see how!


This article is based on the thoughts and models by Team Coaching International and leadership expert Prof Peter Hawkins, respectively.


Your style of conflict and what it means to the teamwork

Your cooperative skills mean a lot when it comes to productivity and well-being but so does your style of conflict.

To support at constructive – and productive – teamwork it can be helpful to agree on what to do when disagreements and conflicts arise.

In these situations it may be good to know what strategies each person will automatically use, what that will result in, and how to utilize the strengths of the different styles of conflicts in the group.

There is not a right way to handle conflict. This depends on the situation and the need.

5 different styles and how each style is recognized

The Thomas-Kilmann model of conflict describes 5 styles of conflict. Each profile has strengths and challenges depending on the situation and the amount in which they are expressed.

Competing – “I’m in charge”

  • This style is good if there is a need to fight for something or someone, set a clear limit or in any way challenge the norms.
  • There is a large commitment to the case and a low commitment in the relation to others. It is about winning the war not regarding relational loses.
  • This style is controlling, competing and impatient when it comes to conversation and data gathering.

Collaboration – “Let’s fix this together”

  • This style is good at uncovering all aspects and possibilities and choosing a mutual solution based on sober information. It will take longer to produce results, but it is typically worth-while.
  • There is a big commitment to the case AND the relation.
  • This profile gathers information, engage in dialogue, look for alternatives and have an interest in every point of view, all values and all needs.

Compromising – “I’ll budge if you do too.”

  • This style might be appropriate if not much is at stake. Used in the right way it might make time and room for bigger issues to have attention.
  • Commitment is intermediate to both case and relation. Neither big or small.
  • This profile tries to decrease the expectations of the others, negotiates, gives and takes, and is careful.

Avoiding – “Conflict – what conflict?”

  • This style is good if a lot of tension is present. It might be useful, then, to defuse and not (unnecessarily) fuel the fire. It might also be a useful strategy to protect oneself.
  • This avoiding style shows low commitment to the case and to the relation with others.
  • The profile will step back or avoid getting involved.

Accommodating – “You decide”

  • This style is good to let everyone feel seen and heard and to calm troubled waters. It might be necessary to make room for problem solving.
  • The commitment to the interpersonal relationships is great but small to the case. The most important thing is to feel good.
  • This profile moderating and soothing and is typically very interested in the views and accept of others.

How do you extend your personal conflict style

Few of us have only one style. We have several assets. Still, there is reason to develop and to gain understanding of others.

The more you develop yourself, the better you know your personal style of conflict and can manage it constructively. It also means that your understanding and accept of other styles are larger and you will find it easier to adapt your response to what is needed in that specific situation.

If you find it easy to fight you might fight in a more constructive way if you practice stepping back and listen or seek information. If you find it easy to step back, you might contribute more if you practice speaking up.

If you always consider all options, you might practice prioritizing in what situation a quick solution is needed.

If you are the person who always tries to make people get along then put on the clothe of a problem-solver and try looking for a third – common – solution. And if you are always busy making sure everybody is okay both the fellowship and the bottom line might benefit from hearing your ideas. You might have thought of something that the others have not, which might loosen the conflict.

When you are aware of your different style of conflict (or styles) in the team you will not have fewer disagreements. But you might be able to exploit differences and disagreements more constructively.

Also read the article ”Common rules for handling conflicts”




High performing lederteam, high performance

A high performing leadership team – is that you?

If you wish to be a high performing leadership team it is not enough to just do the job. You have to be good at cooperating while doing it.

“Of course, people know how to cooperate!”

According to Phil Sandal one of the pioneers in team coaching and CEO of Team Coaching International this is a very common assumption.

The thing is that international research tells us differently. Less than 10 % of teams saw themselves as high performing in a survey from Team Coaching International*.

10 %! This is a small number during times when demands on companies and organizations are high and where good and efficient teamwork is in focus.

How about the cooperation in the leadership team?

One task belonging to leaders is to support and develop the organization and the people, who create the results and deliver the package.

How do you team up for that task in your leadership team?

Is your performance level a match for what the business and organization need?

High performing leadership team, what is it actually?

Performance is a slightly burdened term, which is often heard as sole achievement. But if you want lasting and sustainable performance that is not enough.

Performance is not just about achievement. About solving the task. It is also about how you feel while doing it. For high performance in teams it is about how relations support problem solving and creation of results. In short, how you feel about each other.

If you want to be a high performing leadership team you have to look for productivity strengths and relational strengths alike.

The productivity strengths could be your ability to make the right decisions and execute them. The relational strengths could be to trust each other’s abilities and intentions and to address necessary issues and dilemmas even if it is uncomfortable.

  • Productivity strengths – to solve a task
  • Relational strengths – to cooperate on a task

Some leaders are so focused on solving the task that they forget to consider their abilities to cooperate. That be internally with the other leaders or externally with the primary stake holders including the employees.

Do you need a high-performance check?

You might think the leadership team is doing well and that it is the employees that does not meet your demands and expectations. It might be that:

  • Your employees lack engagement.
  • The controversies are not solved constructively or aren’t even addressed.
  • You experience misunderstandings between departments.
  • You feel you have to do your employees work to get good enough results.

But…, There is only one way if you wish to develop your business and to have the organization working at its best and that is to develop yourself as a leadership team. To develop the way you solve your leadership tasks and to develop how you cooperate.

Sometimes you need to revitalize your leadership team. To consider how you can improve on your cooperative skills to solve the leadership tasks in the best possible way.

What do you think? Do you need a main inspection?


*Source: Analyses by Team Coaching International based on more than 4000 teams during a period of 10 years.

konflikter, Konflikthåndtering, Konfliktstile

Common rules for handling conflicts

Few teams define common rules for handling conflicts and disagreements in advance. The primary focus is on what you are going to create and how you want to work together, not what is going to happen if anything goes wrong.

Conflicts: Agree on common terms when things are good

It can be difficult and feel unnecessary to discuss worst-case scenarios when everything is fine. But conflicts will always emerge and dealing with them is a lot easier before judgment is tainted by emotions and needs.

Mapping of reactions of oneself or others without anyone feeling attacked is also easier if you are not already crossed.

A way to prepare for disagreements is by exploring each other’s style of conflict. Partly to be able to reach out and help each other to a new (common) path. Partly to utilize differences in values, ways of thought and ways of reacting constructively when you are trying to agree on common norms.

Style of conflict: Are you a hawk or a pigeon?

How do you react when disagreements emerge? Will you return fire head on, do you withdraw or will you try to calm the waters?

Humans are different when handling conflicts. The more you know of your personal style, the easier it will be to react with awareness and well thought out – leaving the amygdala out. And it will be easier to accept the reactions of others, too

Kenneth W. Thomas and Ralph H. Kilmann who developed the Thomas-Killmann conflict model divides us into 5 profiles according to our style of conflict management:
  • Contending (you fight)
  • Avoiding (you flee)
  • Accommodating (you submit)
  • Compromising (you mediate)
  • Collaborating (you investigate)

Use your differences in a common agreement

Not one style is the right one. It changes with the situation and the need. Everyone has to practice something new to support productivity and well-being within the team.

When you set out to agree on terms for dealing with conflicts start with your differences and explore what each style can do for you. This way everyone is comfortable within the norms and you have the best opportunity to shape your behavior for each situation.



Do you need to be a superhero to step out of the comfort zone?

How do you get out of the comfort zone when it is necessary for development and change?

Perhaps you know the saying: Everybody wants to develop but nobody wants to change.

I don’t know where it comes from, but it is often what ends important changes in organizations.

The question is though; Is it true?

Isn´t it possible to challenge status quo so that you and others are willing and capable of stepping out of their comfort zone?

I would like to make a suggestion, but first…a few words on comfort zone.

The comfort zone – pros and cons

It is not necessarily a bad thing to be in one’s comfort zone and most of the time this is where we are. Some of the pros are:

  • It saves time. You know what to do and how.
  • It saves energy. You are not exerting yourself.
  • It creates a sense of safety. You trust yourself and others because you know tasks, procedures and relations.

But the comfort zone has its limits. Some of these are:

  • Creativity and thinking outside the box are scarce. Things are done and decisions are made as ususal. Other ways, which might be better, are not explored.
  • You loose wins that might demand blood, sweat, and tears

Two strategies to get out of the comfort one and create the change you want

Strategy 1: What is no-go?

This strategy starts by defining what you would never do and then works its way backwards. The space between “What we will NEVER do” and “the comfort zone” defines the possibilities in front of you. This provides you with a developmental zone where the changes you agree on are both wanted and possible.

Strategy 2: What is the first small step we could take?

It is exhausting to not know, to feel unable to and to not understand. No matter whether you are a leader or an employee it is demanding to feel incompetent.

Instead of creating big changes where everything is new and nothing is known you create a smoother transition by gradually introducing more of what leads you towards the new and less of what belongs in the past.

It might sound like removing the band-aid slowly. This is not true. You create the road as you go along. Numerous small steps that make people feel they know, are able to and understand a minor but still new area before the move on to the next where they might feel unsecure anew – but not far from home…

A new saying could be:

Everybody wants to step out of the comfort zone when the necessary changes feel desirable and manageable”.

And this does not demand superpowers…

Frygt, frygten som styringsværktøj

Fear as constructive guidance

Setting goals – in life and in work – may be a very good way of achieving what you wish for. However, the factor which usually determines what we finally decide to do or not to do is our fear of consequences.

So why not explore our fear? It may be justified, but then again, it may not. You won’t know until you turn around and look it in the eye.

Tim Ferriss has given an inspiring TED talk on the subject.

His message of how important it is to understand your fear as well as the means within your grasp of setting things in motion and so create results is thought-provoking, and his tools are very useful.

Model for analyzing your fear

First step – analyse your fear and your means of action

What exactly am I fearing … (the theme of your fear)

  • Define: Define the worst thing that could possibly happen
  • Diminish: Explore what you can do to minimize the risk of such a thing actually happening
  • Repair: Explore what you can do, or what kind of help you can seek, if the worst should happen anyway

Next step – possible gains

When you have established the details of your fear and what you can do to diminish or to handle it, then ask yourself:

  • What could I gain if I still persist in doing what I fear, either partially or in full measure?

Third step – The price of retaining status quo

Finally, you ask yourself, what is the price of remaining in status quo? What do I risk by NOT saying, asking or doing what I imagine could have fearful consequences?

When you have completed these steps you will be in a better and more enlightened position for deciding what you should do.

Imagination versus reality

“Fantasy is often more painful than reality” – Seneca the younger

At some point I learned that shaping a vision, a dream or an imagined goal is the easy bit. Turning it into reality is the hard bit where the battle really stands.

But when I use the “Fear-model” from Tim Ferriss, I feel that it´s the other way around.

Making everything more concrete is what makes it all easier.

It may still be tough enough to follow through, but what is at stake will be made clearer to you, and the means of action will stand out, giving you a sense of security.

Do you dare? I hope the tool will work for you.


Fellowship in leadership

As an owner-leader you often long for fellowship because your sovereign position also makes you feel alone, even lonely. Everything is up to yourself – all the ideas, the solutions, the decisions … It’s all in your own hands, seemingly.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. It depends on perspective.

Influence from the inside and out

In an occupational setting it is tempting to think that decisions and actions mainly stem from your own free will and thoughts. You may accept that to a certain degree you are influenced from without, but you´re still confident that basically you think and act as an independent agent. You see yourself as capable of evaluating things objectively and making the right decisions.

And so, perceiving your setting to be like this, you try to influence and inspire others to move forward and develop. It is tough work, and it can feel very unrewarding when the things you wish to happen do not in fact happen. You often end up feeling that you are not part of any fellowship at all. You experience yourself as walking alone.

Or influence from the outside and in

In a more connected – and to me more real – setting you are influenced and indeed formed to an extent where objectivity is more or less nullified; where you think and act in response to multiple influences and intricate relationships that create the scope for what you can register and decide.

If once you accept that even though you cannot always see how you are influenced and where your limits lie, then nonetheless, both the influences and the limits are always there, the wisdom of including the world around you as part and parcel of yourself and of asking for a glimpse of what you do not yet see becomes quite evident. The opinions, ideas, feelings, needs, values, visions, etc. of others will then present themselves to you in a new light.

So, instead of beginning by looking for ways to influence others, you might instead begin by asking: “How can I knowingly let myself be influenced by others and how can we all influence each other in order to allow new possibilities to reveal themselves to us and make things move?”

Fellowship is always possible

The amazing thing is that to others it signals personal strength to invite such a matrix of mutual influences. And you´ll find that somebody always wants to tag along. There will be people enough who want to explore both pitfalls and possibilities with you, to discover their own strengths and weaknesses and to be offered truths in new and various ways; and to help make you aware of what you have so far found it impossible to take into account.

They might be costumers, co-workers, members of the advisory board, business partners, suppliers, authorizational workers, or others. You may truly find yourself in a fellowship.

Gift and obligation

But of course, when you realize the amount of insight that can be gained from such a fellowship, with its stakeholders becoming like virtual co-creators, and what possibilities may pop up of running a healthy and sustainable company, then some obligations will arise too.

An obligation to give due consideration to every challenge from the outside and in, and an obligation never again to imagine yourself as walking quite alone.

An obligation to keep asking yourself how often you seize the opportunity to co-create, co-run and co-develop a better business.

Where would it lead to if you really dared to try?

Personlig udvikling som leder

How to use muscles and become a good leader

If you want to be a good leader you must use all your muscle power. If you want to use all your muscle power you must work with personal development.

You won’t become a good writer by buying yourself a fancy PC keyboard. Or a master chef from purchasing a good-quality sauce pan.

In the same way, you won’t become a good leader just from having good and adequate leadership tools. Such tools will make it easier for you but they will not create results by themselves. It takes a human being to wield them.

Good leadership demands personal development

But who are you and what does it really mean to work on personal development? There is not one single answer to this question, but still, let me offer you a suggestive example:

When I go to a gym I usually follow a set program in order to work gradually through the different areas of my body. But after a while I feel like making a change and I will plan a new program using new machines. And then I suddenly realise that I have muscles I wasn’t even aware of, as they start hurting! They haven’t been used for a long time but they have a function too, and they need exercise.

It´s the same with personality “muscles”, I think. We all have certain parts or aspects of ourselves that we are not quite aware of, because we don’t use them very much. We tend to define who we are and how we work according to the “muscles” we use the most and know best. In this way we only reveal half the story of ourselves to ourselves (and to others!) and we also only utilize half of ourselves.

This is me (too) as a leader

I am very determined. I use this part of myself – my determination – to a degree that it sometimes comes to define how I relate and react no matter the situation or the circumstances. Sometimes it is appropriate enough, but sometimes it’s more like trying to saw through a piece of wood with a hammer.

I am not always aware of this. Usually it takes a caring and honest bystander to remind me of an inappropriate response. But then, instead of letting my determination go on proclaiming “This is me!”, such a reminder gives me the opportunity – admittedly sometimes after quite a while – to let another aspect of me say “This is me, too.” And then I find that it’s possible for me to change without feeling forced.

I do not need to change completely, and it´s not that perseverance isn´t a valuable quality too. It´s just that I end up with more possibilities on my palette – possibilities to succeed and to thrive.

Attention, attention, attention

If you want to utilize all of your leadership “muscles”, at least two things are required:

  • You need to explore which parts of you are worth exercising more
  • You need to think and act using new perspectives

Especially the last point needs attention. A lot of attention. And a lot of careful nudging. Because your accustomed ways of thinking and acting will keep nudging you too and might well convince you that old ways are better ways, so be careful. And attentive.

Værdsætte forskelligheder

Do you utilize differences in your team?

One of the criterions of success in constructively working together in a team of leaders is to acknowledge and utilize each other´s differences. How do you do that?

On utilizing differences that do not exist to us

According to Daniel Kähnemann, a nobel prize winner in economics and the author of the book “Thinking fast and slow”, a perfectly normal human mechanism is “what you see is all there is”. We see and acknowledge only what our personally toned glasses will allow. The rest is basically invisible to us.

This means that we are always prone to miss out on certain strengths and weaknesses in a given situation, decision or relation. We become insensitive to some of the threats involved as well as to some of the opportunities. And if we are alerted to them we might still dismiss them, even if we know (in theory) that there are perspectives and truths other than our own.

So, if we want to utilize each other´s differences we have to give in to something that, to begin with, does not actually exist to us.

It takes trust!

A story about a team with no prior attachments

It is right after a thorough organizational change of seats in a big company. The rotation has been implemented along with a decision by the top direction to change the leadership paradigm. A newly established group of team leaders now need to turn their part of the organization in a new direction using a new paradigm.

They are all very knowledgeable in the field. They are all experienced leaders. They are used to trusting their guts and themselves.

They decide to park their attachments to (i.e. their pride in) their own personal ways of doing things somewhere outside and instead trust the new organization, the new paradigm and the different views on the new reality and relevant means of action belonging to the others.

They discover that by choosing to let go of attachment to their own accustomed ideas and conceptions and instead trusting each other´s different perspectives and propositions they are each overcoming the mechanism of “what you see is all there is”.

This means that the entire group will gain more insight and will be better capable of navigating the new structure of the organization and the new leadership paradigm in a way that is not contained by the old habits of thinking and acting.

The key is trust and curiosity

When you decide to trust what is seen and recognized by the others in your leader team even if you cannot see it yourself, you will access so many more perspectives on history, situation and goals.

But you need – each of you – to trust the integrity of other perspectives.

What about your leader team?

Have you chosen trust?

Have you chosen to be open and curious far beyond your personal understanding and comfort?

Forankret mulighedsorientering

Hold on and jump

Why does it make sense to keep looking for opportunities and to jump right into change while at the same time being anchored in a steady and solid core?

Sometimes you are inspired in a way that gives rise to something new. Or perhaps it touches on something you are already engaged in and enjoy witnessing in others.

I am interested in the ways that an organization can look for new opportunities and improvements and keep pushing the boundaries for positive development while at the same time maintaining a clear focus on a set of shared values that are worth holding on to.

Look for opportunities

That is why I felt very inspired when recently I read about Give Steel. Every day, the CEO and owner Torben Laursen asks himself and his company the question: “How can we perform even better tomorrow?”

Due to this persistent focus on new opportunities they have been able to expand both in revenue and staff, even during the recession years in the 00s.

A marvellous story of success.

Hold on

On the contrary…

… In the middle of a wave of awe over changes and developments in 2014 a different perspective was voiced by Svend Brinckmann, who advised people to hold on and not be pushed forward by directors who wanted changes without bothering to ask why.

All on one side – or the other

The danger of focusing exclusively on improvements and changes is that you may end up just going with a flow. As a director and as an organization you just keep chasing the next target. Nothing immediately within your grasp ever seems quite good enough! Exciting enough! Great enough! Enough! You´re always on the go, never settling and never enjoying the here-and-now and what you have already achieved.

The danger of too much holding on is that you might get stuck, that you don’t improve where you should or change inveterate habits that are counterproductive to what you want to experience or achieve. It might result in your organization losing its raison d’ëtre.

Why do you need both?

So I’d like to promote a combination of both. I´d recommend keeping a firm foothold that will actually enable you to seize new opportunities and so keep on moving.

In my opinion, to hold on means always to ask whether proposed changes will really be beneficial and purposeful and whether the gains will outweigh the costs.

To seize opportunities, on the other hand, means to make improvements in order to make a positive and well-defined difference for something or someone. Even if it takes much energy to make them.

If a company is well grounded in a shared focus and a clear set of values, it is possible to keep seizing such opportunities which open up to sustainable improvements that are of real value to costumers, to workers and to everyone else involved.

This is without a doubt a part of the story about Give Steel and other similar successes.

Link to article on Give Steel: