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Top 5 Tips for Executive Leadership

Top 5 Tips for Executive Leadership

Enough! Caring too much is not a character flaw that needs to be eradicated.   Caring is essential to leadership.

executive leadership tips

Executive leadership means you are responsible for building the business and doing the right thing for all the employees and customers within your community called the enterprise.  It is your job to do the deep dive and strategize the next step while weighing the impact on people and then make changes for the organization with or without the support of those around you.  When you give your attention to something, you emotionally invest yourself in the outcome.  That investment is caring.
You are irresponsible if you ignore growth to keep your job (along with the salary, options, bonus structure and perks that are never mentioned anywhere but the inside circle). In leadership, growth is hard.  If you have been near any growing teenager you know growth is awkward, sometimes painful and can consume a lot of resources.   Any business without growth is dying.  Executive coaching covers many topics on the how work gets done and I have worked with too many passionate, knowledgeable, visionary leaders being beaten up by their leaders or peers because change might upset the status quo.   Change is upsetting without assurances through proper dialogue on the long range goals behind the change.   Change is gut wrenching when it is not aligned with an intentional best for the organization.  What if your vision as executive leader for your business unit and for the landscape of the industry is not aligned with the pedantic way of being that “we have always done it that way” style of management around you?   What if your vision is not aligned with the best for the organization?  Do you allow people to talk to you about it?  Do you shut conversations down?  Do you give up and wait for Wall Street to you tell you what to do?  What are you willing to risk to do the right thing for the business?

These top 5 tips for executive leadership are not for the faint of heart but they are for those who have (or want to build) the backbone to be a leader. Absolute actions that make you more valuable to the company:

executive leadership tips

  1. Call the emperor and have a heartfelt, productive conversation when there really are no clothes.   If the plan does not appear to have merit or potentially impacts areas negatively which might not be immediately visible you must say something.   To hold that conversation with success, you have to have a well thought out plan.  Most importantly you have to be willing to look that person in the eye and say I am willing to risk my status here to tell you something important.   With the knowledge that you could be reminded that do not make all decisions and you could be sent back with “just follow the orders as told.”  The litmus test is that if you were in the Emperor’s position would you want someone to talk to you honestly?   With that said, you need to be open to having your team members come to you with those types of conversations.
    Executive Coaching suggestion: proactively outline a language for disagreement by introducing a conflict management resource like “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry PattersonJoseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler
  2. Manage your emotions in the face of evil, stupidity, wasting perfectly good resources, abuse, chameleons or whatever downfalls of humanity exist which really make you mad.   First you have to know your hot buttons so that you know when your amygdala is being hijacked by your emotional reaction to the idiocy.  This can show up in many ways but reference the fight, flight or freeze base response.  Recognize it in others so you can amend your own behavior and make it safe to stay in conversation.
    Executive Coaching suggestion:  “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Tim Rath, buy it and take the assessment in the back of the book.  Find out where your growing edge or edges are and work on those.  The better you manage your emotions the easier growth becomes around you.
  3. Identify and communicate your vision, perspective and knowledge with those impacting the business.  Ask those around you if they know your vision.  If not then make it easier to regurgitate and create a communication plan.  It has to be one sentence that guides all decisions.   Think Southwest (we provide the low cost alternative to flying). This can be achieved in a team building process where buy in is created through the group creation of an easily consumed and shared direction.
    Executive Coaching suggestion: any book by Patrick Lencioni, but “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” has a process that will build any team and lead them to all focus in one direction on one common vision.
  4. Pro-actively solicit honest feedback from key stakeholders and leadership members.  Do not wait for the 360 degree feedback results to gather crucial data from those around you.  Include those impacted by your behavior; customers, board members.  The most meaningful conversations are held before the crisis occurs when the immediacy of derailing is in the distant.  Create strong relationships with those you will need in crisis.
    Executive Coaching suggestion: Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) is a 360 you can have administered by an executive coach.  This assessment was created by Kouzes and Posner the writers of the book “The Leadership Challenge.”
  5. Make disagreement a productive tool and solicit that diversity of thought to build stronger plans and solutions.  Encourage additional routes to end goals beyond the obvious.  Make faltering an asset so when failure happens (and guaranteed it will if you are pushing any growth) your team will bring forth those issues to get additional thoughts and ideas from local and regional resources.   Adult minds and responsible adults relish a challenge when they have the leeway to experiment and gather “key learnings” from solutions that did not produce the desired results.
    Executive Coaching suggestion:   Revisit or learn to deeply delegate and discuss in advance the ramifications of taking risks and making mistakes.   The book “Influencer” by Kerry PattersonJoseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler give insight how to lead change.

executive leadership tipsWhen you care enough in leadership to get angry about doing the right thing you owe it to the team to bring your best self forward.   If you need insight to areas that you might address do this self-check:  What is going on that really bugs me?  What do I really care about? What is the opposite of that?  (you will find your leadership values there) What is my angle in this?  What am I going to gain if we do this my way?  What will we lose if we don’t act now?

Caring and being passionate about building growth is the only reason it is worth forcing your way through new ideas, change and opposition to change.

Contact Us Today to Strengthen Your Leadership Abilities

If you find yourself fighting up, sideways and down to get the change you know will carry the business forward and need help identifying strategies to get the team aligned call or email Pat Weiland, Executive Coach and President at Sage Strategies.
+1 310-503-5856


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