Have you ever heard that you become like the people you spend the most time with? I assume you probably have, and its true. The people we surround ourselves with have significant impact on shaping us, no matter who we are. Maybe you assume just because you are a “seasoned leader” or “you don’t care what people think of you” that you can’t be shaped by those around you. I’d argue there is about zero truth to that one. I believe there is some obvious truth to the fact that younger leaders are much more prone to being shaped by those around them, but we are all influenced. It’s human nature to be influenced by those around us. This is one of the greatest roles leadership teams can play for us. They allow us to actively surround ourselves with those we want to shape us. Leadership Teams don’t just help us as leaders though. They also have significant impact on the organization. Here are a few ways:
1. Leadership Teams Promote Buy In
It’s rare, if not impossible, for senior leaders to have the opportunity to meet with all of the people they lead on a regular basis. By organizing a leadership team, you allow channels of communication between yourself and those in your organization (assuming you choose the right people to be on this team).
2. Leadership Teams Provide Diversity
In a world that is continually changing at an increasing rate, there are few more valuable resources than diversity of ideas. Creative problem solving is all about generating ideas, and selecting the best. This is done much more effectively as a team. Just like an artist may draft hundreds of works before a masterpiece, often we must generate many ideas before great ones emerge. I often remind myself that, when it comes to ideas, success is found in surplus.
3. Leadership Teams Provide Support
No matter how great a leader you are, you can’t go it alone. It simply it is not possible to achieve excellence in solitude. Sure, you may delegate to your “executive team” or staff, but that’s not really going to take you to the next level. Organizing these people into a leadership team allows them to generate ideas, have a deeper understanding of the issues, and work together to solve problems. Creating this team will most likely pay huge dividends on your time and resources invested.
4. Leadership Teams Focus Your Effort
Having a great organizational chart in place is important, but maybe more important is developing a team of leaders to invest in. Even if you only have a few “direct reports” on the chart, knowing where and how to focus your leadership efforts can be tricky. Focusing your efforts on a team of leaders allows you to develop those that will develop others. It’s the way you start creating that culture of internal development .
5. Leadership Teams Create The Right Culture
Publicly referencing, investing in, and promoting a team of leaders sends the right signals. It signals from the top that it’s not just about one person, and that you will succeed or fail as an organization.
For clarity, there is a significant difference between a meeting of senior “leaders” and a leadership team. In an earlier post I explained that leadership is not dependent on job title. Furthermore, as the title indicates, you must have a team of leaders, not a group of executives. If you want the benefits of a leadership team, you must develop the team and not simply organize the staff or executives. If you want to thrive as an organization, you must identify, develop, and engage a team of leaders.