I had the good fortune 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 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.
Communication Is The Key On a great leadership team, the leaders are tremendous listeners. They listen thoughtfully and attentively to everything that is said around them by their team members. They hear it all, the ideas, the suggestions, the recommendations, and even, yes, the complaints. By listening with empathy, they can understand more deeply what is going on around them, but more importantly, they also develop a keen grasp of the reasons WHY those things are happening, and they can respond quickly with just the right positive responses. Having listened well, such leaders are ready to communicate their vision to their Leadership Team peers and employee associates. In communicating, great leaders hone their narratives and tell their people exactly what they need to know, and they do so transparently and openly. Their narrative is delivered with intelligence and with heart, and it is delivered frequently enough that their teams know exactly what is expected of them, and they have a great sense of priority and purpose. Great leaders understand that Communication is paramount to their success and the success of the team.
There Is No Substitute For Caring If you want to build a great leadership team, one that can lead you and your team to a dynasty, you are going to need to hire Leaders who care about their people, whether those people be employees, direct reports, peers on other teams, prospects, customers, or strategic partners. This is the one thing you cannot fake, you must genuinely care about all of the people involved in a business if you want to lead effectively in today’s world of rapid change. While you’re at it, you need to hire Leaders who care about their Leadership Team colleagues. Nothing is quite as toxic as the high-performing Leader who has a vendetta against one of their Leadership Team peers and who backstabs and front-stabs at every opportunity. I learned a long time ago that I’m not going to ever get the chance to work with a perfect peer, but I also learned that I don’t NEED perfect peers when there are so many absolutely fantastic talented, and skilled Leaders that I can work with. Accept your colleagues as full, worthy human beings and get outside of your comfort zone and invest in helping to make them successful. My guess is that they will notice and will quickly appreciate your effort and want to reciprocate and help YOU succeed as well. Care about everyone that you work with, and let the People around you ascend to become the best that they can be, by believing in them, and investing in their success.
Focus On Your Response to Resistance & Adversity I’ve noticed that the best Leaders in business are cool, calm, and reflective. They know who they want to be, and they know HOW they want to be at the same time. They anticipate and expect some occasional resistance to their plans, and they anticipate and expect some occasional adversity to visit them from time to time. When resistance or adversity shows up, these thought leaders are ready for it, and they are poised to whirl into action with a response that is a proactive, positive, and situationally proportionate and positive response. Every member of a leadership team must act like an Executive at all times, wear their Executive Presence everywhere they go, and demonstrate their confidence and gravitas at every step in the journey. By acting the part, Executives inspire confidence in their followers and by being situationally appropriate with their responses to adversity and resistance, they show their teams that they will rise above pettiness and stay focused on leading from the front and not from the bottom of the barrel.
I’m going to leave it there for today. I have some more elements that I’ve noticed are present with great Leadership Teams, but I’ll lay those out for you in our next article. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s conversation about what makes great leadership teams great. I hope you are working in a company with a great leadership team, or at least a company on its way to developing a fantastic leadership team. Come on back in a few days and visit us again for another look at some additional elements that make for an outstanding Leadership Team.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.