I had the great opportunity to be able to work with several very talented Leadership Teams for some fast-growth technology companies during the month of October this year. These companies have talented Leadership Teams that are tightly aligned, and they are cohesive and working together at a very high level. One of the CEOS who had put together one of these great Leadership Teams over the last 5 years or so pulled me aside at their Strategic Planning Summit and asked me if I could help him to evaluate his Leaders. Of course, I took that challenge as it sounded like a really terrific opportunity. Today’s article is the second in a series about the things I look for in a Leadership Team and the things I keep trying to implement with my Leadership Team as we become talented, skilled, tightly aligned, and cohesive.
Make Your Meetings Count Leadership teams attend and lead a great number of meetings as they perform their leadership role. It’s important to make every one of those meetings count, whether it is a one-on-one with a direct report, a weekly team meeting with their direct team, or an executive leadership team meeting. Leaders have the best opportunity to make meetings meaningful as they facilitate them. Every meeting should be about communicating openly and honestly and discussing the issues that give the organization the greatest opportunities to solve problems and the best chances to seize the opportunities that present themselves. Great meetings identify issues and lead to dialogue about how to solve those issues, before finishing with a plan to provide a solution to the issues or to seize the available opportunity. Focus on solving problems in your meetings, setting clear expectations, exploiting opportunities, and asking for feedback from your meeting attendees to ensure that your meetings are creating value for the people in attendance.
Demonstrate Core Values And First Principles Great Leaders spend significant time developing an organization’s core values and first principles. Having done that, they cherish them like the guiding light that they become when revered and used in every aspect of the business. Great leadership begins with knowing what you stand for, what you’re willing to fight for, and what you do in the face of adversity you need to use those fervently held values to drive everything that you do in the business, every single time. Companies that hold to their core values only when it’s convenient fall by the wayside very quickly when their inconsistency doesn’t resonate with their employee associates. You need to hire with your core values, hiring only people who believe in your company’s core values. You need to use them to measure and reward top performers and you need to use them to hold underperformers to a higher standard. When team members fail consistently to honor the company’s core values they don’t fit your culture and need to make way for someone who believes what you believe. When a touch call comes along, having core values and first principles to guide your decision-making is a blessing. Never make a decision that is inconsistent with what you believe in, ever. Core values and first principles are like the guiding stars of your enterprise.
Model the Emotional Intelligence And Maturity Great leadership teams never take a day off from modeling the emotional intelligence that they’ve developed over the years as a leader. If you want your employee associates to behave in ways that are emotionally mature and intelligent, then your leadership team needs to consistently model that behavior at all times. Realize that as leaders, everyone’s eyes are on every member of your leadership team. There can be no emotional outbursts, no career-limiting moves, and no mean-spirited personal attacks in a well-run business. Leaders are highly self-aware, and always very concerned about managing their responses to emotionally challenging circumstances and adversity. Always ask yourself who you want to be BEFORE you react to an emotionally challenging scenario, not afterward. Once you’ve settled on taking the high road, then actually TAKE the high road. Just as importantly, great leaders demonstrate high social awareness and figure out how to throw a lifeline to a colleague when they see them in deep water in an emotionally challenging situation. By leveraging your high social awareness to help your colleagues to manage their relationships carefully to maintain their credibility you will create great conditions for psychological safety and ensure a tone of calm professionalism prevails across the organization you lead. It is absolutely critical to success.
Win Together And Help The Team Learn To Win Together I had the opportunity to compete in some individual athletic endeavors as a young man and I enjoyed some success. I learned to like victory celebrations quickly. However, each of my individual endeavors was a part of team competitions as well. I learned quickly that the celebrations after a TEAM victory were exponentially sweeter than the individual celebrations. Few things are as satisfying as winning together and doing it often. Great leaders understand that a team victory is so much more important than individual victories, and they teach their team members to place the team’s goals above the individual goals. They also help their team to learn how to collaborate at a high level and to put themselves collectively into position to taste the sweet taste of a championship again and again. That is the essence of teamwork and the essence of great leadership. Great leadership teams drive teamwork and collaboration and repeat victories.
Well, that fills out the picture a bit more, doesn’t it? We’ve learned that great leadership teams are tight, and they are aligned in all weathers, no matter the challenge and no matter the adversity that befalls them. Great leadership teams are cohesive because the leaders on the team choose to place the interests of the business and the interests of the team ahead of their own interests. I hope you’ve enjoyed our pair of articles about the elements that make a leadership team great. I hope that they’ve gotten you to think about whether your leadership team is on a trajectory toward greatness. If it is, please accept my congratulations. If it is not yet on that trajectory, reach out to me, and give our amazing coaches a chance to help you to get ON that trajectory in the near future.
Michael is a Master Certified Professional Business Coach and a developer of Executive Talent. Michael and his firm, Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting have coaches working across the United States with coaches in Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and Arizona. Michael’s firm works with fast-growth companies in many industries and the talented MBCC coaches work closely with C-Suite Executives, Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Emerging Leaders to help them to take their Executive Presence and their Leadership capabilities to a game-changing level. If you’d like more information about Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting, reach out to Michael at email@example.com.