Why you should increase your senior leadership team’s bandwidth and how

“Why can’t we ever get anything completed” … a distraught senior leader asked me during a coaching session. As a senior leadership team, we seem to get a lot of things started, but we never seem to really see these things through to completion. It is like we hit the ground running when the starter’s gun goes off but can’t seem to finish the race. It is a never-ending cycle of incomplete action, items and projects, the leader went on.  

The leader was obviously at their wits end and were struggling to understand what was at play in their senior leadership team, that they just could not create the accountability and the responsibility to complete game changing projects. 

I asked the leaders about the bandwidth of their leadership team.  

That question was met with raised eyebrows, and I explained that bandwidth is just as it sounds. Bandwidth is about the breadth of skills of the team, and the senior leaders in it. Think of bandwidth like a sinewave or waveform, which has an amplitude and a frequency (so can oscillate between high or low, depending on the situation). 

In short, leadership bandwidth is about have broad leadership skills, that are capable of dealing with a range of issues in the organisation. 

The concept of leadership (even management) bandwidth is not a new one, but my personal take on bandwidth is that it is about individual bandwidth, leadership bandwidth, and organisational bandwidth. Let me explain… 

1. Individual bandwidth (of senior leaders) 

Leaders need to be flexible, and they need to adapt. The most important thing they need to adapt to is the difference communication styles of the members of their teams. And if you need to understand more about this, please reach out and we can assist with DISC profiling, to help you understand the communications preferences of your team members. 

For leaders, the better they can understand communication styles, the more they can adapt to different styles. 

But it is not just communication styles that they need to adapt to. Leaders need to be able to deal with internal and external stakeholders. They need to be able to talk to the cleaner with as much respect as other senior leaders. They need to manage every conceivable emotion, and they need to do all of that with the conscious control, connection, and courage.  

In other words, leaders need to develop a wide bandwidth of skills to deal with various communication styles, personality styles, emotional styles, and everything in between. Leadership is a dynamic process, not a static one. 

With a wide individual bandwidth of personal interaction skills, leaders will struggle to not only connect, but to inspire others to follow through and hit their goals, objectives, and the completion of major projects. 

The solution to this issue really is external leadership training and coaching. With a focus on people skills and leading under pressure. 

2. Leadership bandwidth (of all leaders) 

Leadership bandwidth (called management bandwidth by some scholars) is about the ability of the leaders in an organisation to lead their teams. That is, to do all the things that engage, energise, and enable others to aspire to greatness and to work at a high performing level. 

Leadership bandwidth starts with the senior leadership team. If they don’t have the bandwidth to start, follow through and complete projects, then things will either not get started, or not get finished. And yes, being a starter or a finisher is a personality trait.  

Or the senior leaders don’t provide the coaching that is needed to develop other leaders in the business to become better versions of themselves. 

Or the lower-level leaders don’t understand how to create a culture of completion. Of high performance. Of project delivery.  

Or the lower-level leaders don’t have the skill sets in their teams to deliver on the project requirements, which always require a diverse range of skills (see the next point on organisational bandwidth for more explanation on this point). 

The solution to this issue is internal leadership training and coaching. With a focus on senior leaders supporting their leaders and ensuring that they have the skills and the support to deliver on their responsibilities and accountabilities.  

3. Organisational bandwidth (of all humans in the business) 

Some businesses suffer with a bandwidth issue. Imagine for a moment that your project was a technology-based project, but you don’t have a developer of Software Engineer on your team. And you don’t know what to look for in a developer. Your team’s chances of successfully implementing a technology project are buckleys’ and none.  

Or that your key team members are on parental leave or long service leave for the duration of a key project. Or that the server keeps crashing when people work from home, or that the sales team has overcommitted and made promises that the operations teams cannot deliver on. These are organisational bandwidth issues. 

And yes, some of these are temporary. In fact, any bandwidth issue can be viewed as temporary, if it is understood and addressed.  

The solution to this issue is to put some time and effort into project planning, project resourcing, and project scheduling. Including what is realistic and what is not. And what resources are required, that are not currently available.  

In summary, senior leaders need a wide bandwidth, due to the wide array of circumstances, situations, and humans that they will be required to deal with on a daily basis. Leadership bandwidth is about every leader in the business, and whether or not they are able to lead their teams to greatness. And organisational bandwidth is about the organisation’s ability to deliver major projects.  

And yes, all of these helped my coaching client. Time will tell if they can get more key projects completed. 

And could you please do me a favour, and share this with leaders everywhere? This is an important topic for leaders. 

Please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

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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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