Top tips for building the right senior leadership team in your business
As a business grows, many owners continue to be heavily involved in the day to day running of the business and often struggle to step away and let go in order for the business to continue to thrive and grow.
In many successful businesses we work with at Barnes Roffe, sustainable growth has been achieved with a trusted, skilled senior leadership team or executive team. This team sits alongside the business owner and other stakeholders to help with both day to day operations and longer term strategies to enable the company to grow and achieve sustained success.
As your company grows it’s important to let go of the reins, work less in the day to day of the business, build a strong set of senior leaders and adapt your own role to focus more on strategic leadership and become more focused on corporate strategy.
Maybe you have already have taken steps to build a leadership team in your business but you don’t feel like it’s working as you expected? The question then is do you have the RIGHT leadership team, are they the right individuals, do they understand your vision, and do they have the skills needed to drive your business forward?
So, how do you build an executive team and then lead them to grow the business, work towards your vision and reduce your stress and workload as a business owner?
In this blog, I’ll look at key elements of building and leading a senior leadership team.
Build a high performing team
In order to build a team of senior level executives that will help you achieve your business goals; you have to be clear on the roles and responsibilities of each team member and employ highly skilled team members to take the business forward with you.
It can often be difficult to employ and lead people that know more about some areas of running a business than you do! But employing senior executives with expertise and experience in their own field that you can learn from, will help you to create a successful team. A sign that your management team is performing well, is when they challenge you, rather than you always challenging them.
As a business owner, you don’t have a 360-degree skillset, so you need to build a team of highly qualified and experience individuals that bring together complimentary skills and knowledge. To achieve that ‘dream team’ you’ve got to map out the roles you need, know what skills sets are required and find people who fit the brief for the role.
Your team may consist of roles such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/Finance Director, Operations Director and Chief Marketing Officer. All these individuals will bring knowledge, experience and skills that you may not have as a business owner. Your job as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Managing Director is to lead them and fit the team together so they are working towards a shared vision for the business.
Everyone needs to play their part; any gap will break cohesion and leave gaps in the teams abilities to drive forward. Small gaps in the team’s knowledge and expertise, left unattended for too long, can cause long term business challenges.
Create a shared vision
Before you begin to build your team, you need to have a clear vision for the business. Without this you will be employing a group of individuals that may have different agendas and pull in different directions. Without that shared vision, you can’t hope to unify your senior team to work towards the same objectives.
If you have a clear vision and plan for the business then you need to share this with your management team to ensure they are unified in achieving your vision and goals. Having a shared vision may sound easy, but many business owners often struggle trying to align the management team’s aspirations with overarching business goals.
Create flexibility and the ability to adapt to change
The hardest thing for any business owner is letting go of their business, taking others’ ideas and adapting their business model to deal with change.
Market changes, new people entering a business and increasing uncertainty, demands flexibility within companies to achieve sustainable growth.
A growth mindset requires:
· Setting clear goals
· Creating a shared vision
· Letting go of the reins
· Looking at the big picture
· Delegating more work to others
· Being honest with senior executives
· Nurturing talent
· Encouraging honesty and creativity
· Being flexible
· Clear communication
Letting go of the business and day to day tasks
As a business leader your time is precious, so you need to be more aware of where you’re spending it. Look at all the business tasks you get involved in that take you away from your strategic role – and create a list of things that can be passed to other senior leadership team members.
Make individuals responsible for those tasks in future and then step back (don’t micro manage them) and let them get on with it. Ensure they understand that you are still there to consult, to help solve problems, or share your own skills and knowledge when needed.
Do you have the right senior leadership team?
Often executive teams are made up of people who have worked their way up in the business and been loyal over a long period of time. This can be a great way to build a good senior leadership team as they will know and understand both you as an owner but also the business.
However, as a business grows some of these individuals may lack the external experience, the vision or the skills to continue to drive the business forward.
Deciding if you’ve got the right executive team in place isn’t easy, especially if they’ve been with the business a long time. It can often mean making difficult decisions.
If your team or individuals aren’t delivering, then before you take any action, look inwards. The problem may not lie with them, but rather a lack of leadership or freedom and responsibility that you allow them.
You need to assess if you’re building the right culture in your executive team, or whether it’s this that holds them back. Your team must know that it’s okay for them to step out, innovate and push the boundaries of the business. They need to feel confident that any ideas they have will be considered and explored.
When everyone in the team is confident that this open, honest and creative culture exists will they feel confident to share innovative new ideas and challenge you, but also support one another in equal measure.
Building the right executive team and trusting them to take over the day to day of your business and allow you to step back, is not an easy thing to do. Trusting your team implicitly and allowing them to fulfil their potential will allow you more time for thinking and planning strategically, while still being confident that the team has everything in hand.
Ultimately, having the right senior leadership team will drive business growth, engagement, collaboration, decision making and will potentially reduce your own stress and have a positive effect on the profitability of your business.
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