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Managing dominance in teams

Dominance can be a productive trait -- when used appropriately.

2 min read



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If you want to get something done, put a powerful person on your team. If you want to ruin the team, in order to get more done, put one or two more powerful people on the team. Productivity will decrease.

This is the conclusion of a recent study by two academics — Angus Hildreth and Cameron Anderson — at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business and reported by Shankar Vedantam on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

Psychologists refer to this trait as dominance.

The supervisor must make it very clear that success will require total team effort. Each individual is responsible for results. Failure to achieve is a failure of team as well as a failure of individuals who will be held accountable.

Dominance is vital to leadership but, as with all power, it must be used appropriately in order to benefit others and not simply the individual.

Note: For more information on the research cited in this post, read “Failure at the Top: How Power Undermines Collaborative Performance,” by Hildreth and Anderson.

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2017, Trust Across America named him a Top Thought Leader in Trust for the fourth consecutive year. Global Gurus ranked Baldoni No. 22 on its list of top 30 global experts, a list he has been on since 2007. In 2014, named him to its list of top 50 leadership experts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

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