I was a musher for ten years with four headstrong malamute sled dogs. Having a dog sled, in addition to being fun to perpetuate Canadian stereotypes (especially while chatting with American tourists while on vacation to Mexico), was also a useful study in team dynamics.
Kali and Logan, the two lead dogs, hated each other and would often erupt in violent teeth gnashing fights at home as they were constantly vying for position under the family alpha Hector. These often resulted in trips to the vet for stitches but the two of them never fought on the line, even though I had them connected with a 12 inch lead between their two collars. They were professionals while working and rivals at home.
There is a big difference between the alpha dog (most dominant in the pack) and the leaders (dominant enough to assert themselves but cooperative enough to listen to the musher). Hector trained each puppy as they entered the family by sending them to the vet for stitches on the first day as they got too close to anything that was his, meaning everything.
As we trained the dogs on the line, each of them took on a specific role on the team. As the biggest brute, Hector was the "wheel dog". Having him back there made the rest of the team want to run away and thus forward. Juno never really cared too much about his position in the pack but also made for a great wheel dog (his biggest concern was not to get behind other dog teams and always bolted forward to keep up.) Kali was a gifted natural lead dog with a great sense of direction even in white outs and Logan was the "point dog" with a keen sense of danger, often rooting us away from hazards like thin ice. We all learned how to run together and had many good years and miles of harmony.
On human teams, the client, who is essentially the musher also hopes the team pulls in the same direction. There are also many headstrong alphas on these teams also vying for position and each with a desire to go in a different direction–often other than the one the client wants to go in. The best leaders in human teams are also not necessarily the alphas but the people assertive enough to command the team but willing to take the team in the direction the client wants.
Teams work when members are the same but different. On a dog sled the members are tied to the same line so they have basic alignment. All teams need a base of core values and vision to establish this core alignment. They also need a variety of contributors with something unique to add to the team. These differences can appear to make human teams seam misaligned. Most teams that think they are misaligned are usually just unaligned. They have not yet had enough conversations to realize they really do want to go in the same direction and that everyone on the team is required to get there. Mush! (No dog driver actually says that.)
The second book in the blindspotting series is a useful manual for anyone running a team of headstrong individuals. Order yours here.