The Leader Works for the Team – Not the Other Way Around

February 8, 2024

Recognising that a leader works for the team, rather than the other way around, is a crucial aspect of effective leadership. When leaders fail to grasp this fundamental principle, it can have significant consequences for team dynamics, morale, and overall organisational success.

In a team-oriented approach to leadership, the leader is seen as a facilitator, enabler, and supporter of the team’s goals and objectives. The leader’s role is to provide guidance, resources, and a conducive environment for the team members to thrive and achieve their full potential. Understanding that the leader exists to serve the team fosters a sense of trust, collaboration, and mutual respect.

When leaders fail to recognise this concept, they may exhibit behaviours that hinder team effectiveness. For instance, micromanagement, a lack of transparency, and an authoritarian approach can emerge. This can lead to disengagement, reduced creativity, and a stifling of innovation within the team.

Servant leadership is a leadership style that prioritises the well-being and development of the team members. Leaders who embrace this approach are more likely to build a positive organisational culture, where team members feel empowered, valued, and motivated to contribute their best.

To address this issue, leaders should regularly engage with their teams, actively seek feedback, and demonstrate a commitment to the team’s success. This involves creating an open and inclusive communication channel where team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and suggestions.

By acknowledging that the leader works for the team, leaders can foster a collaborative and high-performance culture, ultimately contributing to the overall success and sustainability of the organisation. This mindset shift is not only beneficial for the team but also aligns with modern leadership principles that emphasise empathy, collaboration, and a focus on long-term organisational health.


This article explores themes and concepts from content by John O. Burdett.

John O. Burdett is founder of Orxestra® Inc. He has extensive international experience as a senior executive. As a consultant he has worked in more than 40 countries for organisations that are household names. John has worked on organisation culture for some of the world’s largest organisations. His ongoing partnership with TRANSEARCH International means that his thought leading intellectual property, in any one year, supports talent management in many hundreds of organisations around the world. Get in touch with John O. Burdett »

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