What leadership styles resonate best with teams at various stages? How can we shift mindsets as the team evolves? And, where does goal setting fit in?

These are just some of the questions my colleagues and I strive to understand. Often, we look for answers that spring from cutting-edge research in quantum mechanics to well-established leadership principles in the field of psychology. For example, two well-known models of team development: Bruce Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development and Hersey- Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Theory model provide insights on competencies that enhance group synergies—such as diagnosing problems, bolstering communications skills such as persuasion, and adopting flexibility with regard to tasks and responsibilities.

Combined, these models account for individual and group development within a collective context. They are also inclusive of individual leadership styles which are important when considering effective goal-setting pertaining to leadership development. They allow leaders to understand what styles will be receptive to their teams at various stages and how they will need to shift mindsets as the team evolves.

Leadership and Quantum Entanglement

In Quantum Mechanics (Quantum Physics), the double-slit experiment demonstrated that an observer or a camera capturing footage can have a significant impact on matter acting as waves of energy or particles depending on who or what is watching. Quantum Entanglement theory also has fascinating implications for connected individuals or established teams as it posits that pairs or groups of particles— even when separated over large distances—act in such similar ways that they cannot be described independently. The Institute of Noetic Sciences in California performs consciousness research to unlock new ways of understanding this phenomenon. There may be a connection that transcends physical distance for matter that is related in some form.

Why Trust Matters

Leadership may be defined as guiding, directing or influencing others in a particular direction or toward a particular goal. However, successful leadership on high-performing teams also requires something that effective management may not always have: Trust. A feeling of trust is much more than a probability. It represents a strong sense of certainty with one’s head (competence) and heart (intentions and strong values) that something will be accomplished. Trust is the bond which allows diverse parts to become entangled. Trust also enables commitment and nurtures development.

Imagine now that a leader has a team that is performing well and the goal now is to move into a leadership style that focuses on delegation—placing the leader in a distant location away from the team. For this to happen, we must assume that the team is competent, clear in both their roles and goals; and, that there is trust of the head and heart. Consequently, if the leader has not engendered trust and cannot detach from the team, allowing them autonomy, then the leader is unlikely to have done his or her job.

Therefore, goal setting should not be the focus of leadership efforts above securing trust, knowing one’s team and their needs. Nonetheless, it must play an important role in the process as a heuristic. If defined correctly, goal setting can support leadership by offering a benchmark or measurement to consider. However, successful leaders should not be measured solely by accomplishing goals, but by empowering others.

I end with one of my favorites:

“When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘we did it ourselves.’”

-Lao Tzu

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