Your executive team is the backbone of your organization. This team is responsible for setting strategic direction, making important decisions, and driving execution. But as anyone who has led a team knows, executive teams can be challenging to lead at times. They’re typically made up of direct report peers with different strengths, experience levels, and stakeholder relationships – all while being expected to collaborate and drive results together. This article dives into the unique challenges of leading an executive team and provides strategies to help get the most out of them. (PRO TIP: Check out the Key2Success Executive Planner!)
What are the biggest challenges of leading an executive team?
Many of the challenges of leading an executive team are the same challenges for leading any team. You’re managing relationships, creating a culture of trust and inclusion, and driving alignment around a shared vision and goals.
The biggest challenges you may face as an executive leader might include:
- Dealing with different opinions: different viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives are great, but they can also lead to conflict. When leading an executive team, you must make sure everyone’s voice is heard and navigate potential challenges associated with difference.
- Balancing the workload of high-performing team members: It’s common for executive peers to be high performers. They’re often general managers and leaders who have been promoted to the executive team. But it can be challenging to support them and their responsibilities while also managing your own.
- Balancing the needs of your direct reports with those of your peers: As an executive leader, you have direct reports who report directly to you and peers on your executive team who report to you. As a result, it can be challenging to manage their needs and expectations effectively.
Be clear about your team’s purpose and priorities
As you begin leading your executive team, setting clear expectations about purpose and priorities is important. You and your team should be clear about the team’s purpose, who the team members are, and how you will meet the team’s goals.
One way to set clear expectations for your team is to hold a kickoff meeting. During this meeting, you can set the tone for your team and the organization’s culture. This allows you to communicate your team’s purpose and priorities, establish a strong relationship with your team members and let members to ask questions.
Communicate regularly and make meetings effective
As you communicate regularly with your team, you’ll help build trust and transparency. You’ll also be able to identify challenges and issues before they become big problems. Effective communication may include:
- Holding regular meetings with your direct reports to assess progress, identify challenges, and drive results. You may want to consider holding team meetings for your peers to bring the team together and keep them informed.
- Communicating with your team members regularly. This could include regular check-ins, one-on-one meetings, and team meetings.
- Making communication a two-way street. As an executive leader, you may be accustomed to communicating upward to stakeholders. However, make sure you also communicate with your team members and seek their input.
Leverage the different strengths of your team members
As you lead your team, you may notice that certain members are more comfortable or excel at certain tasks. This may be because of their strengths and experience. It may also be because of their personality traits and preferences. When you notice that certain team members are more comfortable with certain tasks, leverage this. Let team members try new things, take on new assignments, and feel empowered to grow their skill sets. This will help drive results and build confidence in your team as a whole.
Provide recognition and reinforcement for a job well done
As an executive leader, you are in a position of power, but that doesn’t mean you have to rule with an iron fist. As you lead your team, ensure you are recognizing and reinforcing a job well done for your team members. Let team members know that their voice is essential and welcome their thoughts.
You should also protect yourself and your team against unexpected shocks. Investing in key person insurance at keypersoninsurance.com should keep your executive team running even when accidents and issues arrive. At the end of the day, if your team feels comfortable, protected, and valued, they’ll excel.