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Ideally, individuals are assigned to a leadership position within an organization because they are trusted, highly competent, great with customers and know how to enlist and engage their people.
With that high level of competence comes an assumption that they don’t need much guidance or handholding. They are big boys and girls, being paid accordingly and know what to do and simply need to be given the runway to make it happen.
What then, is the role of their boss – the CEO, President or Business Head? The obvious answer is to provide strategy, direction and clear goals and to allow that individual to accomplish them. Beyond that, what else would support their success? Here are a couple of ways the leader of leaders can stay connected and provide additional support:
1. Make Time for Monday Morning Huddles / Friday Wrap-Ups – Gather your leaders on Monday mornings to share key focus areas for the week. This creates an opportunity for your team to report on their progress against goals and ask for help if needed. It also gives you a chance to continually review what they see as priorities and offer course correction as needed. It is also an efficient platform for you to share your immediate goals, offer additional guidance and direction and a bit of motivation. Bringing the team together at the end of the week – whether in person or a 30 minute teleconference – to review progress made and align plans for the following week can be helpful to keep the team focused and engaged.
2. Surprise them with Impromptu Check-Ins – Nothing matters more to your leaders than one-on-one time with you. When you find yourself with an open pocket of time – reach out to one of your key leaders with a quick phone check in, meaningful e-mail or to grab a cup of coffee. Get to know them on both a personal and professional basis – that relationship building goes a long way to building loyalty.
3. Develop Signature Questions – What do you really want to know from your team of leaders? What would give you the best insight into how they are doing? Get your team used to core questions that you always want them to be prepared to answer like:
a. What is keeping you up at night?
b. What has you fired up and inspired at the moment?
c. What opportunity are you most excited about?
d. What do you see as your biggest threat to accomplishing your goals?
e. What do you need from me?
Superior leadership requires staying in touch and keeping the dialogue robust.