Taking Leadership to Distant Teams

Sometimes we have teams distributed across the world.  How should we work with them when we visit?  There is a leader who seeks to practice positive leadership.  She recently visited one of her offices on the other side of the planet and she described taking them through a half-day learning journey:

  1. I shared with them our Best Team Portrait that we created in the home office, and they agreed it all made sense and that they should adopt it as-is.
  2. We pulled out the key themes and then did a rotating pairs activity where I gave them mini scenarios I had written (based on real events) and asked them to discuss how they would handle this and how it aligned with the best team portrait themes. (This was a GREAT activity! They loved it, even though it made them uncomfortable.)
  3. We worked on “decision rights” or why they did not always need to come to me for approval.
  4. We clarified intention. Each person shared what they see as their primary role and their goals for the year, as well as concerns.  We discussed and agreed on those goals and came up with many agreements/commitments to helping each other when needed.  They agreed that, with such a small office, everyone has to be willing to work outside their role from time to time without complaint.
  5. We each did the Competing Values Exercise that allowed them to see their differences while also seeing the need for collaboration. This worked very well.


  • What is unusual about what she did?
  • How do you think the people felt when she left?
  • What is the one step that impresses you the most?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

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