Re: Questions on teams and team leads
From: Mark.speaks (
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 08:28:12 -0800 (PST)
Jude, you might look for a team builder in your area. I am not aware of any
research that shows that leaderless teams work.

Mark Mitchell

-----Original Message-----
From: Jude Foster [mailto:foster.jude [at]]
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:32 AM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ Questions on teams and team leads

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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