Questions on teams and team leads
From: Jude Foster (
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 06:32:05 -0800 (PST)
Our community, Trillium Hollow, in Portland Oregon, is challenged by the functioning of our teams - especially brought on by crises in two teams, and the sudden stepping down of two Team Leads with no one to replace them. Now some residents are questioning our established model of having Team Leads at all.

We did just start a new gathering of Team Leads last summer, to meet every two months, to look more closely at the structure and functioning of our teams. The two meetings we have had have been productive. But now two major teams are leaderless - what to do....

One team (Landscape) is trying out the model of a leaderless team, with rotating facilitators for each meeting - after the sudden quitting of previous Team Lead. A three- month experiment, it's hard to tell how it will go long-term, especially since this team has a history of being stressed and divided. (What, stressed and divided about caring for our land? I won't go into details here.)

Another (Repair and Maintenance) has been perceived as frozen into inaction by the polarities on the team. The Team Lead stepped down, partly in frustration, partly because he is way too busy. But he had to step down without someone to fill his role. So another leaderless team.

(Our community's list of teams: Landscape, R&M, Building and Grounds, Parents and Allies, Kids, Community Enhancement Group, Common House, Steering, and Board.) Yikes!

That's a quick synopsis. Here are some questions focused on the issue of leadership of teams:
What team structure works in your community?
If you have Team Leads, how long do they serve, how do they communicate with each other?
What about burn-out and frustration?
If you have only "conveners" or "facilitators," are your teams effective in getting things done?
How do leaderless teams work through decisions and challenges?
How do your teams self-evaluate?
Has your community evolved from one team model to another through time? Why? And what works well? What to do about the natural differences between those who tend to lead, and those who never will, and those strong individuals who need to take a break from leading?

OK, this should be enough to get some information flying. Thanks in advance for taking the time to share your insights and perspective.
Jude (member of three teams and way too busy)

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