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Leadership Team Development: Creating a Culture of Honesty and Growth

This is a culture micro-practices - small, sometimes unconventional ideas to improve company culture, inspire new behaviours and ways of working, and promote psychological safety, collaboration, employee experience, and engagement.

Leadership team development is a critical activity for organizations looking to build strong teams capable of achieving their goals. One key aspect of developing a strong team is creating a culture of honesty and growth, where team members are encouraged to communicate openly and strive for personal improvement. Here is a culture micro-practice that can help foster this type of culture.

Culture Micro-Practice: The One Thing

  1. Gather your team

  2. Instruct each team member to write down the following for every person on the team: a. One valuable trait or behaviour that they bring to the team and company. b. One thing they wish the person would start or stop doing (ensure it's not a compliment disguised as critique e.g. “You care about the company too much”).

  3. Starting with one team member, have everyone in the meeting, in turn, share the valuable trait and the critique they have written about the person. Encourage open and honest communication.

  4. After everyone has shared their feedback for each team member, ask each person to write a statement beginning with "In the next 6-12 months, I will..." based on the feedback they received. This statement should focus on personal growth and improvement.

  5. Schedule regular quarterly meetings for the team to review their progress.

  6. At each quarterly meeting, have every team member read their personal growth statement aloud.

  7. After each person reads their statement, ask the rest of the team to rate their performance as either the same, worse, or better compared to the previous quarter.

  8. Emphasise the importance of vulnerability and accountability in this process. Acknowledge that it can be uncomfortable, but remind team members of the long-term benefits in terms of open communication and preventing unresolved issues from escalating.

  9. Continue to foster a culture of honesty and growth in all team interactions and meetings, ensuring that this level of communication becomes the norm.

Why This Micro-Practice Works

This activity works because it creates a safe space for team members to provide honest feedback and receive constructive criticism. It also helps to build trust and accountability within the team, as everyone is encouraged to take ownership of their own growth and improvement.

By focusing on personal growth and improvement, rather than simply pointing out flaws or weaknesses, this activity helps to create a positive and constructive environment. It also encourages team members to work together towards a common goal, rather than simply focusing on their own individual performance.

Benefits of Leadership Team Development

There are many benefits to developing a strong leadership team, including:

  • Improved communication and collaboration

  • Increased trust and accountability

  • Better decision-making and problem-solving

  • Greater alignment and focus on organisational goals

  • Higher levels of engagement and motivation among team members

By investing in leadership team development, organizations can build stronger teams that are better equipped to achieve their goals and succeed in today's fast-paced business environment.


Leadership team development is a critical activity for organizations looking to build strong teams capable of achieving their goals. By creating a culture of honesty and growth, organisations can foster open communication, trust, and accountability, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving. The micro-practice outlined provides a simple but powerful way to encourage personal growth and improvement among team members. By embracing the micro-practice and continuing to foster a culture of honesty and growth, organisations can build stronger and more effective leadership teams.


What if someone doesn't want to participate?

It's important to emphasize the importance of participation and explain the benefits of the activity. However, if someone still doesn't want to participate, it's best to respect their decision and not force them to take part.

What if someone gets defensive or upset during the activity?

It's important to emphasize that the feedback is intended to be constructive and that everyone should approach the activity with an open mind. If someone does get defensive or upset, it's important to acknowledge their feelings and encourage them to take a step back and reflect on the feedback. It may also be helpful to discuss ways to address the feedback in a constructive way moving forward.

How often should we do this activity?

I recommend doing this activity at least once a year, ideally in conjunction with regular quarterly meetings to review progress and provide ongoing feedback. However, the frequency of the activity may vary depending on the needs of your team and organisation.

What if someone receives overwhelmingly negative feedback?

It's important to approach this situation with sensitivity and compassion. Encourage the person to focus on specific areas for improvement and provide support and resources to help them make progress. It's also important to address any systemic issues that may be contributing to the negative feedback.

How can we ensure that this level of communication becomes the norm?

It's important to continue to reinforce the importance of open and honest communication in all team interactions and meetings. Encourage team members to provide regular feedback to one another, and make sure that feedback is always provided in a constructive way. Celebrate successes and progress, and make sure that everyone feels valued and supported as they work towards personal growth and improvement.

Give it a whirl. Let me know how it goes by sharing and tagging me on LinkedIn (#micropractice).


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