Being a great and effective leader is one of the hardest challenges to achieve in the world. How do we ensure that our leadership teams are set up for success?
We all know the right language when it comes to leadership and high performing teams. No one would argue that leadership teams across all industries need vision, innovation and an ability to adapt constantly. Our expectations of our leaders have never been higher than they are today. When you take individuals and ask them to be a team of leaders who can inspire and achieve results, you are handing them a collective mammoth challenge.
Strengthen your leadership team now by applying these six strategies:
- Make the development of your leadership team an important project: Investing in your leadership team is the most important investment you will make. Think of their learning as you would about a critical project that is set up in the business. Set deadlines and consult experts who will support their success. Create a vision for success, identify blockers and review their progress. Fill their tool boxes with support and hold them accountable to their role.
- Ask your leaders to do what others aren’t prepared to do: The world is full of leaders who start out with great intention. Intention is not the same as results, and does not guarantee great people leadership. Successful leaders do what’s required. They keep going even when it’s hard and they don’t want to. They don’t wait and they don’t give in. They are resilient and emotionally healthy when it’s really needed.
- Create a sense of ‘tribe’: A ‘we are all in this together’ attitude can be the single most important ingredient to team success. Leaders who have each other covered and can speak the truth to those around them have the greatest opportunity for building trust. When leaders feel that they are part of something that is bigger than themselves, they are more likely to tap into their own potential and be brave in their decisions. They will challenge each other and celebrate each other.
- Get them uncomfortable: It is true that the greatest learning happens in discomfort. For your leadership team to know what they are really capable of, you have to test out their resilience and capacity. Given permission to play big and take calculated risks they will grow their relationships with each other and learn from their mistakes. This is where their potential sits as a team. Create opportunities and environments where they won’t know the answers and might get it wrong. Magic happens when leadership teams get space to do this.
- Pay attention to what they are doing, saying and feeling: Your leaders will be constantly receiving feedback from everyone – from their direct reports through to shareholders. Leaders need leaders! They need senior people who care about what’s happening to them. They need a safe and robust place to push back and share the experiences they are having. They need to know that they can ask for help and that all emotions have a place.
- Honour the future version of your leaders: Imagine your leaders in two years’ time. How much more will they know? Consider what you would put in place for your leadership team if they had already proved themselves. If they were smarter/wiser/more experienced leaders is it likely they would have more responsibility and be assured of a seat at the table when it counts. When leaders feel like they are trusted they can expend their energy on the people, processes and problems that really need their attention.
The reality is it’s unlikely anyone else can create success for your leadership team. They are going to have to work hard and get on the ride. I’ve never seen a team that was an overnight success. Recognise and value their commitment and courage as these two attributes will be the foundation you want them to lean into.
Lisa Stephenson is the founder of the global, Australian-based consulting firm, Who am I Projects and author of Read Me First (Major Street Publishing). Lisa draws on decades of experience as a global speaker, leadership consultant and success coach and has worked with some of the biggest global names, CEOs, elite athletes and entrepreneurs. For more information on Lisa go to www.lisastephensonconsulting.com.au