I think we take management teams for granted, but given the power they have to impact both strategy and culture inside an organization, I think that’s a mistake. We should be intentional about them and, frankly, hold them to a higher standard. Here are some tips for moving in that direction.

Design your meetings. I am amazed by how many management teams use the ever-popular meeting design of “sit around a table and talk about things.” Not good enough, folks. You should get more intentional and clear about when and how you will share basic data, when you will deal with the immediate tactical fires you might be facing, and when you will tackle the deeper, strategic problems. You might be doing much of that around a table, but the WAY you do each of those things will be very different. See Patrick Lencioni’s Death by Meeting for more on this.

Be more transparent. Okay, I get that sometimes you won’t be able to share the sensitive stuff you’re talking about, but I doubt you can seriously justify how stingy you are with sharing what you all are talking about. It’s almost laughable—so many management teams worry how people will either misunderstand or misuse the information if they shared the inner workings of their meetings, yet what they don’t seem to realize is that the people ALREADY ARE misunderstanding and misusing it—because they are forced to make it up in their own heads! People will create a reality about what you’re talking about—whether you tell them or not. Telling them is usually a better choice.

Hold each other accountable on culture. Generally speaking, the people sitting around the management team table tend to be very competent, which can actually make accountability more difficult. If they’re behavior’s off, you either assume they’ll figure it out on their own, or that they somehow know what they’re doing. But you have to remember, when it comes to workplace culture, people tend to look “up” the org chart when figuring out what’s valued. That means all eyes are on the management team, so if you’ve got some team members who are not behaving in ways that are consistent with your cultural priorities, then you could be in big trouble. You have to be able to raise that issue and solve it at the management team level.

I know you have a lot on your plate as a member of the management team, but the whole organization will thank you if you start focusing on improving management team performance as well.

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Jamie Notter