With consistency, across various industries and sizes of organizations, I find that patterns and challenges within our executive leadership teams present as issues elsewhere in the company. For example, a lack of trust among members of the executive leadership team may present as a lack of trust across the organization or what sometimes shows up as “a lack of trust in management.” Difficulty speaking truthfully with other members of the executive leadership team may show up across the management team, as difficulty addressing performance challenges head-on or having tough conversations. Fear or uncertainty among teams of co-founders may present as gossip and drama within the organization- rooted in fear.
I am grateful to work with many leaders who both understand and embrace this. This means that, together, we invest just as much time and energy (or more) at the highest level of the organization as we do in supporting evolving and emerging leaders. This might look like 1:1 executive coaching for top-level leaders within the organization; it might look like group coaching and strategy across teams of co-founders to increase trust and explore how to best serve a growing and scaling organization; it might look like executive intensives where we go offsite together for a day or two and have important, fierce conversations about how the executive team can operate most effectively in service of the organization.
While engagement-related initiatives can be effective if they’re done right, and fun committees can, indeed, be fun, I believe that oftentimes, our engagement and culture and people related opportunities present an opportunity for deep work and reflection at the highest levels of our organizations rather than a committee a survey. As the saying goes, Leadership Starts at the Top.
As leaders, here are some things we might consider.
For challenges we face within our organizations: in what way might this challenge be present within our executive leadership team, as well? What could it look like to explore this challenge together?
In what ways are we actively focusing on our own growth and development as executives, leaders, and/or co-founders, alongside the work we are doing to help others in our organizations grow and develop?
What dedicated, safe spaces exist for us, as leaders, to be vulnerable and talk about the things we can’t talk about anywhere else?
What is the greatest opportunity before us as leaders? What would it look like to run toward this opportunity?
What is the greatest challenge we are facing as a leadership team? In what ways are we enlisting help or support to tackle this challenge?
If you are curious what it could look like to come together to do this deep work within your own executive leadership or co-founder team, I invite you to reach out so that we can talk more. While too often the phrase “it’s lonely at the top” can feel true, it doesn’t have to.