Empower Your Senior Leadership Team to Lead as a Team.

Collage of leadership team working together

As I’ve coached executives from high-potential middle managers through the entire senior leadership team, one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered is helping the CEO truly empower their team to lead. Many organizations support their CEOs and COOs with executive coaching to become better leaders: to develop their decision-making, self-awareness, and ability to communicate.

Once these skills are honed, it’s crucially important for that leader to know how to step back and really assess their team as a unit. The CEO must be able to determine how the team functions. Here are some questions to get you started in your assessment:

  • Is the team you lead in fact a team at all, or are they heads of individual silos?
  • Does the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) know how to have constructive dialogue and disagreement rather than “after the meeting meetings”?
  • Does the CEO have the patience to be quiet so the team can wrestle, deliberate, and problem-solve?

In fact, my job in systemic team coaching is to work with the leader in this stage of their development to come alongside the team and partner with the team rather than “run” the team and its meetings. Most of the time, I hear from seasoned leaders that their SLTs still operate in silos and the effects ripple throughout the organization, affecting employee engagement and customer service.

So how is your senior team functioning? Do they act as a unit? Would their stakeholders say they do? If not, what will your first step be to empower this shift and truly be a team?

Marjorie R. Johnson, LCSW, PCC, is a Certified Practitioner in Team Coaching (Global Team Coaching Institute) and an executive coach.

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