While your organization’s success is reliant on a great effort and strong performance from all of your team members, there’s no question that having the right leadership at the top is paramount to success. Without great leadership skills and strong business acumen in your executive leadership ranks, the company will likely struggle no matter how hard individuals try.
When you look at your current executive leaders, what do you see? Are they all in sync with each other and with you? Do they have the right experience to lead the group through ups and downs? Are they ready for the next phase of the business?
And let’s talk about your team and their specific leadership experiences. Are your leaders largely promoted from within? Is the bulk of their experience coming from their time with your organization? Or are they individuals you’ve brought in from other organizations and even industries? Or most likely, are they a combination of those two groups?
These questions are all critical to your leadership development strategy. Here’s how you can start developing more successful leaders today.
Individuals who have been around a long time and developed most of their leadership skills in your organization bring many benefits to the role. They likely have an intimate understanding of your business and a great deal of experience with the people and processes. Ideally, it also means they’ve held various roles across the organization, and their experiences allow them to foster success across departments and teams. They know the players and have likely built strong relationships inside the company and established loyalty both to the organization and from the staff.
It’s also possible, however, that you have a leader or leaders who moved up from the manager level due to a strong performance over one group without much in-depth exposure to other parts of the business. This likely leads to an unconscious bias on the part of the leader and may at times mean they simply focus on what’s familiar and therefore more comfortable, neglecting other parts of the business.
It may also mean that their leadership style is one of someone who “grew up” professionally in the organization and may lack some of the polish or perspective they might have gained in a different organization. They may rely on historical connections and a few close friendships to get things done rather than focusing on building trust and respect-based relationships across the company. It can be difficult for a leader who has been promoted over previous peers or even supervisors to take a strong leadership role with those people, which can limit their effectiveness and undermine their efforts to a degree.
Those who have not really worked anywhere else may fall back on “what we’ve always done” and miss opportunities to try new things or take the team in new directions. They may be unable to come up with creative solutions due to their narrower business experiences and can at times even be resistant to suggestions simply on the basis that they’re untested or perhaps come from someone newer to the organization.
Executive coaching is a great way to help these individuals capitalize on their experience and avoid the pitfalls so that they reach their full potential.
Many organizations find themselves at a point where they need to look outside their own four walls to take their leadership to the next level. Whether they need a fresh perspective to lead financial operations, an individual with broader experience to lead their operations efforts, or someone with a more defined executive presence to head up sales, outside hires are often a necessary and beneficial strategy to move organizations forward.
It’s possible, however, for an executive to be top-ranked at their previous organization or in their past industry and still struggle to display the right combination of leadership skills to help their team succeed in your organization. They could lack the requisite knowledge and be unwilling to ask for help as they should. Or perhaps they come from an environment where leaders are expected to make all the decisions while in your organization people are empowered to make the call.
They may try to take what has worked elsewhere and apply it directly to your organization without understanding the differences between the two or allowing for the nuances of your company and your staff. They may try to take over right away without seeking first to understand, or conversely, they might be too hesitant to take charge and deal with issues decisively.
They could struggle to understand the organization’s true mission and culture and have difficulty acclimating to your way of doing things.
When bringing in an executive from outside the organization, it’s critical that they’re able to quickly step in and experience some success in the new role. Providing an executive coach shows your leader and your broader team that you’re invested in their success as well as giving that leader the tools to be successful and integrate well.
What Happens When You Combine the Two
Both types of leaders (those promoted from within and outside hires) likely exist in your organization. But bringing the two together can be, at best, a bit tricky and at worst, fraught with problems. Developmental executive coaching is a great way to not only help individuals from both camps develop but also to maximize the efficacy of the leaders as a group.
First and foremost, your executive development program should focus on helping each individual leader be their absolute best. By understanding their own strengths and weaknesses and focusing on what’s really important to them, each leader is able to maximize their own potential and learn to work better with others. In this coaching case study, a Senior Mortgage Advisor more than doubled her business as a result of improving her self-understanding; focusing on tangible, well-defined goals; and gaining a broader perspective on the business.
The Bottom Line
Your team stands to benefit from structured leadership development that challenges each individual to be their best self and helps them work more effectively together. When you choose your executive development program, you’ll want to ensure it’s well-defined and has a proven history of success. It should combine behavioral assessments with one-on-one coaching and offer group team development activities such as retreats, workshops, and team assessments. Want to take your organization to the next level? Contact us today and find out how we can help your team succeed.