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The success of any company can largely be traced to the very top — that is, the values and workflows set by the leadership team. The highest level of management sets the tone for everyone else in the business, regardless of industry, so it’s crucial to evaluate whether your leadership team is fulfilling its role regularly.
From executive officers and vice presidents to chief financial officers and beyond, every member of higher leadership should be on the same page when it comes to inspiring the company and working daily on fulfilling the business operating model. But how can any entrepreneur ensure that they’re building a leadership team that will inspire, empower, and actually deliver results? Read on for four tips shaping how your upper management functions.
Related: 8 Must-Have Leadership Qualities for Workplace Success
Consider various skillsets
Building your strong leadership team starts, of course, with the hiring process. This is an area where you’ll want to get to know prospective candidates personally. That’s because the qualities they bring to the role go beyond hard skills. One of the most important factors to consider when building out your team is the word itself, “team.” After all, you want to bring in people with varied skill sets and attributions that make up a well-rounded, complementary group.
Rather than trying to find an ideal candidate with a perfect résumé (spoiler: they don’t exist!), build out your higher management to ensure everyone can do their specific role appropriately, and beyond that, try and fill in the gaps with different personality types and backgrounds. For example, an entire leadership team with the same homogenous corporate background will likely always lead you to the exact solutions or answers in meetings. But if you hire people with unique lived experiences and new perspectives, your company will be the better for it.
Related: Power With Purpose: The Four Pillars Of Leadership
Align on overarching goals
A frustrating aspect of working on a leadership team is not accurately understanding the company’s goals or mission. While everyone in upper management will have different roles and day-to-day functions, it’s still essential that everybody fully understands and is ultimately working toward broader company progress. These long-term company goals should be clearly defined and regularly discussed, with short-term benchmarks laid out in an achievable timeline.
Have recurring meetings with your leadership team to meet and align on the company’s mission. Ensure everyone’s daily, weekly, and monthly tasks funnel toward the larger company priority. There should be measurable individual and team KPIs to track progress. This keeps the leadership team moving towards its goals and ensures everyone knows how to properly manage down the chain of command so that the entire company is aligned on company values, vision, and mission.
Related: 5 Rock-Solid Leadership Strategies That Drive Success
Build trust within your leadership team
For any leadership team to function, there needs to be an element of trust. This requires regular discussion and established lines of communication, those where leaders can feel safe to pose challenging questions or ideas. This is how the best companies grow: by fostering open dialogue among creative minds.
Entrepreneurs and founders should be transparent with their leadership team, especially in times of difficulty. Whether funding, personnel issues or other business hurdles, company challenges should be addressed appropriately and honestly. After all, that’s why the leadership team was hired — to help find solutions to tough problems!
The leadership team should also know that it has support when challenges arise. From directly speaking with human resources to sharing concerns over a lack of resources or bandwidth, leadership team members should never feel as though they must quietly bear a burden. This attitude only creates workplace toxicity while trickling down across other levels of management.
Related: 4 Traits Every Leadership Team Should Invest In
Hold leaders accountable, and offer feedback
Many in lower management may wonder what those in leadership roles actually do. That’s why one of the most important aspects of a leadership team is to share the results of projects and why executive leaders need to be held accountable. Times and deadlines should be set when new projects are pitched in brainstorming. Leadership is about more than just coming up with the big idea; it’s about implementing change and moving the company forward.
Just as other facets of the company should have regular managerial reviews and check-ins, ensure that the leadership team goes through the same processes. Be sure you’re also asking the team for feedback on your leadership style. What’s most important is that everyone continues to work well together. Similarly, semi-regular retreats or collaboration days can help make sure everyone is aligned.