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Strategies That Improve Leadership Team Performance

Chris Porteous
Chris Porteous

Having strong leaders is critical to your business's long-term success.

A healthy organization needs skilled leadership to survive in a competitive corporate environment. Unfortunately, business leadership teams don't always work well together. Companies that want to ensure that their leadership teams have what it takes to carry the business forward should improve the leadership party's teamwork overall. This case isn't one of planning a weekend team-building exercise. The training that a leadership team needs is fundamental and requires a long-term commitment from the business. Here, we'll explore some of the best strategies that a company has for improving its leadership team performance over the long term.

Internal goal-setting must be better

What constitutes a good leader in your organization? Without this definition, it becomes challenging, if not impossible, to figure out whether your leadership team is living up to its potential. Concrete goals allow a team to understand what it means to reach the point of being considered excellent leadership material. One of the best ways to do this is to align goals using SMART criteria.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive. The plans that the company sets for its leaders should be clear and concise. They should challenge leaders to do better and have a built-in time limit to have a deadline to work with. By assigning leadership team members better goals, you make them into better leaders.

Put money into leadership training

Executive training is something that businesses should also consider for their leadership team. Quite often, members of the leadership team get there through promotion. They have a lot of experience doing the work needed to get to leadership positions but not a lot of actual management experience. Executive education initiatives offer training that will help them come to grips with the management aspect of leadership. The team-building and networking that they get from executive training sessions are priceless. It allows them to learn from experienced leaders and develop connections to other industries through their shared training that may benefit the business in the long run. These connections tend to run into other sectors, extending the business's partnership potential in other areas of investment.

Don't overlook ongoing education and development

Many executives believe that getting into the leadership team means that they've come to the end of professional development and education. Nothing could be further from the truth. Without proper ongoing knowledge, executives risk being left behind. Most businesses will see the need for their executive team to remain abreast of current developments in the field. However, it's up to the leadership team themselves to set their own education and development schedule. Knowing more never goes wanting in the corporate world.

Don't tie leaders to one leadership style

Just like there are different types of employees, leaders embody different types of leadership styles. Leaders can adopt one or more techniques of leadership. Narrowing the leadership team to adopt the same style may seem like a good idea at first. However, just like in real life, it takes multiple tools to fix an array of problems. Having diverse leadership styles should be encouraged. Companies should encourage their leadership team to branch out and diversify their leadership styles to cover more ground as a team.

Promote vertically

Vertical promotion should be at the core of any business promotion model, simply because it keeps talent within a business. For the leadership team, this means that the skills they demonstrate while within the organization continue to the top of the hierarchy. Having someone skilled in understanding the department's problems makes it easier to figure out solutions for those problems. Hiring executives from the outside who know how to form a business might bring with it new perspectives, but it could just as easily backfire. Internal promotion is a precursor to better leadership development because your team doesn't need to relearn how your company works before applying their ideas. Leaders that are already familiar with operations have an advantage over those who need to be onboarded.

Promote a healthy work culture

Company culture shapes how employees interact with each other and the company while at work. Leadership can be affected by company culture significantly. If your business promotes independence and autonomy, leadership positions have much more scope regarding how they can help employees achieve their goals. They can dispense with micromanagement and simplify their demands for tasks. Leaders would need to trust their subordinates to follow correct protocol, but they could offer guidelines to those in their department if they came from within the company themselves. Healthy work culture also affects how the leadership team interacts with one another. A healthy culture promotes collaboration and positivity, allowing the team to reach out to others when they need it.

Recognize the best leaders

Leadership teams sometimes feel as though they don't have anything to aim for. It does get lonely at the top, but keeping the leadership team motivated helps them to be more proactive in seeking solutions to the company's problems. If you have members of the leadership team that supports their subordinates, set an excellent example for those below them in the hierarchy, and supporting other members of the leadership team, the enterprise should recognize their achievements. By creating these kinds of incentives, a company promotes the idea of leaders being critical to the business's success.

There's no need for massive fanfare and circumstance for these acknowledgments, either. Company owners can simply congratulate leaders on living up to their potential and recognizing their contribution to the company in front of their teams. This simple act of recognition can have far-reaching impacts on both the leader's department and on their own outlook on the company.

Use feedback to guide your team's development

Businesses understand the need for proper feedback in their analytical offices, but the same feedback can help the management team become better. Employees are at the front lines when it comes to managers. They benefit (or suffer) from management decisions. Due to that, they are the people that you have to ask for feedback on leadership styles. If a particular manager is suited for their position, employees would be the most logical individuals to point out this fact.

Instead of starting witch-hunts, however, this feedback should be geared towards being constructive. Instead of bringing up problems, ask employees how they would solve those issues. Managers can't do it all on their own, and sometimes the added pressure of being in a leadership position can lead them to make mistakes. Feedback can help get them back on the right track or find weaknesses in their leadership style.

Start with the right individuals

Leaders come in many different styles, and having the right people forming part of the team can be as crucial as selecting the team in the first place. Promoting internally is a start, but you also need people who are motivated and dedicated to seeing their departments succeed. Team players are also a massive bonus since executives are a team. They need each member to be playing together for the company to move forward. The more time a business invests in its leadership team, the more likely it is that the leaders who make up that team will complement each other.

Image Credit: Ridofranz/Getty Images
Chris Porteous
Chris Porteous
business.com Member
I'm a serial entrepreneur and owner of three internet ventures, including My SEO Sucks. A contributor to ZeroHedge, Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Inc.com, and dozens of other media outlets, I believe in SEO as a product. I developed a proprietary technology fueling the #1 rankings of My SEO Sucks clients. In guest speaking ventures across North American, I advocate for organic search traffic as the backbone of any comprehensive digital marketing strategy.