Standing below an electrical transmission line, one can hear the crackle and pop of electrical power being lost to resistance as it flows through the semi-conductive wire.

Under ideal temperature conditions and utilizing optimal materials, power can virtually flow without resistance and loss of capacity. Superconductivity, when it becomes commercially possible, will bring about a foundational change to the efficiency and effectiveness with which electricity is delivered in our daily lives.

Expectation for Resistance

We’re generally accustomed to a certain level of resistance. We tolerate it, as it tends to be present in the regular completion of our work. And yet, sometimes the levels of resistance present in our work lives are unnecessary, caused because organizations often operate without:

  • Clearly established norms for interaction
  • Shared values
  • Common objectives
  • Aligned behavior expectations and goals

With high-functioning teams, the internal strife present in most organizations occurs at a very minimal level. Feelings don’t get hurt as commonly due to established norms around interactions and because team members adhere to official standards for personal conduct.

Many of these teams have invested substantial time into understanding the strengths and complimentary skills of their fellow team members. In such cultures, the rewards structure is thoughtful and inclusive, thus erasing the need for unhealthy, internal competition.

What Role Should a Leader Play?

Leaders are responsible for far more than wringing successful productivity results from the work environment each quarter. Rather, a primary leadership obligation is to raise one’s game, improving and positively modifying the experiences of those we lead and serve.

How can time and resources be invested into reducing resistance? Herein lies potential for a double win. Less resistance:

  • Improves work environments, making them more attractive places
  • Increases the efficiency of projects, thus positively impacting overall productivity

Unlike the dynamics present in the transmission of electricity, the ability to positively impact the existing culture within an organization is present and within our reach. Just like the power company, which invests regularly in new and more efficient equipment, team leaders must be prepared to commit to an ongoing investment into the health and culture of the teams they lead.

This may place one outside the conventional expectation that the business has for its leaders.

Willingness to Carve a New Path

Many of those who have risen to leadership roles have done so by effectively navigating the system as it currently exists. There is both a comfort and a skill set required for such leaders to continue producing at expected levels. It’s the rare leader who, by challenging the paradigm of the currently existing internal culture, strives to remove resistance from the system and bring about a previously unimagined level of performance.

A superconductive culture allows team members to be at their best through:

  • Positive and supportive relationships
  • Systems that serve
  • Continual investment in the capacity of the team to work well together and perform their roles with new levels of efficiency

It is possible! The great gift of a highly functioning internal culture is that it presents an opportunity to move beyond what is expected and on to what is possible.