3D Team Leadership
A New Approach for Complex Teams
Bradley L. Kirkman and T. Brad Harris


Contents and Abstracts
1 The Dramatically Changing Landscape of Leading Teams
chapter abstract

This chapter offers a lively introduction to the book using a rich example to highlight the ubiquity and complexity of teams in modern organizational life. Significant attention is devoted to explicating the primary differences between today's teams and those of the past (the latter of which have received the lion's share of attention in other leadership texts), including more fluid team membership, members on numerous concurrent teams, and constantly changing task demands. Key concepts like team design, team coaching, leader focus, as well as the distinction between "groups" and "teams" are defined and explained using interviews and powerful evidence. Finally, the chapter describes the tensions that most often cause team leaders to struggle and outlines the structure of the chapters that follow.

2 What is 3-D Team Leadership?
chapter abstract

This chapter establishes the foundation for 3-D Team Leadership by defining each dimension—the individuals within a team (i.e., the "I's"), a team as a whole, and the subteams within an overall team. The chapter also describes how team members vary in the extent to which they need to extensively collaborate and coordinate with one another to complete specific tasks (i.e., optimal interdependence), which then impacts the degree to which leaders should focus on each of the three dimensions. To illustrate the key principles, real-world examples are provided to show how leaders often mismanage their team, usually by focusing exclusively on individuals or their team as a whole, irrespective of any situational demands that should determine focus. The chapter argues that 3-D Team Leadership can be enacted by a single individual or a collective (i.e., shared leadership) to drive higher levels of team performance.

3 The First Dimension: The "I's" in Teams
chapter abstract

This chapter dives deeper into the first dimension of 3-D Team Leadership, the individuals (or "I's") in a team. It begins by dispelling the age-old "There is no 'I' in teams" myth and argues that individuals should actually occupy a central position in a leader's focus when interdependence is low. The chapter provides a thorough, evidence-based discussion of the key intrinsic and extrinsic drivers that leaders can use to motivate their individual team members, with a particular emphasis placed on the principles of individual empowerment and, related, specific empowering leadership behaviors. Building high-quality leader-member relationships (i.e., LMX), aligning extrinsic and intrinsic forces, and using sensemaking and environmental scanning are important techniques leaders can use to maximize their effectiveness.

4 The Second Dimension: A Team as a Whole
chapter abstract

This chapter describes the second dimension of 3-D Team Leadership, a team as a whole. It begins with an overview of team fundamentals, including their emphasis on interdependent work, shared goals, and the major types of team processes that can be used to approach and complete tasks. The 3-D Team Leadership model suggest a team as a whole should dominate a leader's focus when task interdependence is relatively high and requires "all hands on deck." A thorough, evidence-based guide for how leaders can foster collective empowerment, build team trust, and create psychological safety is provided. Examples of empowering leadership and transformational leadership behaviors are offered to illustrate the most salient points. The chapter also includes an important discussion of how leaders can align their organization's external systems with their internal leadership approaches and, if necessary, reconcile differences between the two when alignment is impossible.

5 The Third Dimension: The Subteams within an Overall Team
chapter abstract

This chapter describes the third dimension of 3-D Team Leadership, the subteams within an overall team. In contrast to the harmful faultlines that emerge based on non-work related factors like gender, ethnicity, and geographic location, leaders should be proactive and purposeful in leveraging subteams to complete team tasks when multiple interdependent tasks are required at the same time and/or when times become so large that interdependent coordination within a team as a whole is strained. Drawing from evidence in the teams and multi-team system sciences, the chapter provides several data-driven prescriptions for how to best use subteams, including best practices for leader strategizing and coordinating behaviors, building shared mental models across subteams, and balancing extrinsic and instrinsic motivational forces. A rich discussion of how to avoid and resolve conflict between subteams is also provided.

6 Putting it All Together: Learning When to Focus on What in Your Team
chapter abstract

This chapter extends the 3-D Team Leadership model beyond just how to focus on each of the three focal dimensions separately (discussed in Chapters 3-5) to explain how leaders can diagnose when (i.e., in what situations) and how they should be focusing on each of the dimensions. Rich examples, including stories from a famous race to the South Pole and the authors' own experiences working with major fire and rescue departments, are provided to demonstrate key lessons. This chapter also discusses how the 3-D Team Leadership model can be applied to project lifecycle models to maximize team effectiveness. A key premise in this chapter is that leaders must not only shift their focus across the three dimensions as interdependence requirements change, but must also provide meaningful cues for their team members to understand and respond appropriately to the change.

7 Using 3-D Team Leadership Across Cultures
chapter abstract

This chapter provides an overview of major cultural differences of countries and how they impact team leadership principles, including those of 3-D Team Leadership. Of note, in cultures where individualism is more dominant than collectivism, leaders will need to work harder to facilitate true, highly interdependent teamwork. Likewise, in countries where power distance orientations are higher, leaders will need to take some extra steps to ensure their empowerment efforts do not result in team member resistance. Leaders are certainly encouraged to research key cultural differences before taking a team leadership assignment in a non-native country or leading a team of culturally diverse individuals, but nonetheless should be mindful that not all individuals within a particular country or region will hold the exact same sets of values.

8 Using 3-D Team Leadership in Global Virtual Teams
chapter abstract

This chapters outlines the key distinctions of global virtual teams. Some of the most common and problematic challenges associated with virtual arrangements, including less familiarity with fellow team members, a lack of rich communication modes, coordination challenges (e.g., time zone differences, communication limitations), and tendencies to avoid interdependent work are discussed in detail. The chapter also provides an evidence-based set of best practices that describes how leaders can construct a strong virtual team (i.e., team design and team-building), navigate common challenges, and enact the 3-D Team Leadership principles described in prior chapters in virtual settings.

9 What Does it Take to Become a Successful 3-D Team Leader?
chapter abstract

This chapter addresses the leader traits and characteristics that embody 3-D Team Leaders. It begins with an evidence-based description of the characteristics and competencies that have been linked to leadership in general, then discusses the specific leader attributes associated with successful 3-D Team Leaders. Particular areas of emphasis include leader personality, flexibility/adaptability, switching behaviors, ambidextrous leadership, emotional intelligence, and leveraging your authentic self. The chapter also provides insights and strategies for how leaders can enhance their mastery of the core competencies associated with effective 3-D Team Leadership.

10 Conclusion and Assessing Your 3-D Team Leadership Skills
chapter abstract

This chapter provides a summary of the 3-D Team Leadership model and reiterates the model's applicability to the myriad environments in which teams are used to complete important tasks. A set of practical 3-D Team Leadership assessment tools, which leaders can complete or use in a multi-rater feedback program, is provided. The assessment tools capture leaders' empowering leadership tendencies, task and person-focused leadership styles, authenticity, flexibility, and emotional stability; they also capture aspects of teams, including their perceptions of empowerment, proactivity, and various aspects of team performance. When complete, these assessments give team leaders a candid look at where they stand as 3-D Team Leaders and can be used to construct a meaningful action plan for improving.