How to upgrade your leadership team

Most of our work is with the leader, and their team. The leadership team. And after many years, and many clients working with senior teams, we know there are some key things that just work, when it comes to getting it right at the top of the business. 

And getting it right is important at the top, because it sets the agenda for the business. And everyone in it. In general terms, people are a reflection of their leaders. If you aren’t sure that this is the case, and you are the GM or the CEO, try changing your languaging, and watch others change. Try being calmer in your approach, and watch what happens. It is human to mirror the behaviour of our leaders. 

Hence the saying that culture is driven from the top of the business. I agree with this statement (although I think it is also changed in an upward direction, too). But for senior leaders who want to upgrade their team culture and their organisational culture, here are some tips to consider. In saying that we work with teams that are in turmoil, and we work with teams who are high performing, and who want to get even better results. The same tips apply to both scenarios! 

1. Profile the heck out of your team 

If there is one piece of advice that I would give even the most senior of leaders it is to start profiling your senior leaders, and don’t stop. Do it regularly. I have seen senior leaders either not think this is important, or think they are all over it already. Either way, profile and profile some more. 

Use DISC, use Resi-coach, use TMS or whatever other profiling tool your business is comfortable with. And part of the profiling, use your team meetings (at times) to discuss the profiles, and discuss how everyone on the team is unique. They all have their own style, and reasons for why they do what they do.  

And it is good to understand that. It is good to get into connection, not just giving direction. Take the time to understand your team, and what makes them tick. Yes, they are humans, too. They are engaged to lead a department, or a unit, or a product line, but the better you know your leaders, the better they will be able to do their jobs.  

The first part of our leadership workshops is about learning (learn, engage, articulate, demonstrate), and the learning piece is such an important element of any team. Learn about self and learn about others. 

When I say profile the heck out of it, I mean, regularly. Like bi-annually or maybe quarterly. Profiling helps everyone on your leadership team to understand each other, and it is what makes the magic happen.  

2. Workshop the heck out of problems 

Have idea generation sessions. Do root cause workshops as a team. Think critically. Challenge paradigms. Spend one hour a month working on very discrete and defined problems or decisions. That only the senior leadership team can address. 

And maybe even bring in some other organisational experts to work on the issues. This approach is a focused defect elimination approach, and not only solves big problems in the business, but it also brings the senior leadership team together. It creates a bond. It creates trust. If done properly that is. With respect for each other and with the right intent. 

Problem solving workshops are not just to solve problems, they are team building workshops. They are ways for the senior leaders to connect, and to talk through things are important. The process is to schedule them, to follow up on last month’s actions, and come up with a new problem to address. Or you might address the same problem for two or three months in a row, to go deep on it. 

I have seen this make a massive difference for organisations. They generate a massive return on investment, especially when driven by the most senior leader. If it is important to them, it will be important to the leadership team. 

3. Coach the heck out of the senior leaders 

Yes, as a leadership coach, I know how valuable this is for your team. The teams that I work with go from where they are to where they want to. With support. And that support might be one-on-one support, for one or more of the team members. Or it might be group coaching. 

Our process is specifically to work with a leader, if we are doing one-on-one, and then to work with their leader. I have given up coaching leaders if their own leader is not engaged. We work with the leader, and the leader’s leader. Period. Because it works. 

It is nearly unreasonable not to get a leadership coach for your senior leadership team. Businesses expect leaders to work under immense pressure. To lead large teams. To take responsibility and accountability for everything in their patch. Without anyone to support them when the times are tough, or when they need someone to reach out to.  

Coaching is your security blanket. It is your drop sheet. It is your fall back position. So that not only are leaders able to learn tools and skills that they can apply during the good times, but they will also have someone to call on during the tough times. And with coaching, some of those tough times can be avoided. Coaching is such an important element of senior leadership team success. Yes, we have gone on the journey with a heap of leadership teams, and they get huge value.  And a huge return on their investment. 

In summary, learn about yourself and others, with profiling. Take a critical thinking approach to your meetings, and workshop problems on a semi-regular basis. Most importantly, get someone external to the business in your corner, to support you and your team through the good times, and the tough times.

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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