Executive Team Leader Development
Despite the resources invested in individual and team development, an organization will not achieve team-oriented success unless its executives are effective and exemplary members of and leaders of teams themselves.
However, research has shown that a significant number of executives are working under contractual agreements that neither require nor reward exceptional performance—either as an individual employee, as a team leader, or for the organization as a whole (Dandira, 2011). In fact, one study showed that most executive contracts in one African country actually reward departing executives whether the organization is succeeding or not (Dandira, 2011).
A number of studies have demonstrated that an essential trait in executive success includes work-life balance and all that comes with it (Armstrong, et al., 2011). One study of federal employees in leadership roles found that those employees who experienced a high degree of work-life balance are most successful in the executive leadership roles while at work (Armstrong, et al., 2011).
Perhaps one reason for the success of balanced executives is the emotional intelligence that is developed as these outside-the-workplace relationships are nurtured. One study among corporate leaders in the United Kingdom found that emotional intelligence accounted for the variance in executives team leadership abilities (including attentiveness and managing team conflict) as well as their transformational leadership abilities (such as idealized influence and individualized consideration) which are also beneficial competencies when leading teams (Clarke, 2010). Even after controlling for cognitive abilities and other personal traits, emotional intelligence was found to be a significant foundational asset.
Another study found that emotional intelligence accounts for the difference among team leaders in three specific areas—cognitive, verbal, and behavioral teamwork activities—but only during certain phases of team activity (Clarke, Emotional Intelligence abilites and their relationships with team processes, 2010).
Executives who are willing to choose trust over vulnerability, conflict over harmony, clarity over certainty, accountability over popularity, and results over status are more likely to find success (Lencioni, The Five Temptations of a CEO, 1998). Executives must learn to trust others; they must also understand the benefits of controlled conflict as opposed to the detriments of harmony at any cost. Clarity, accountability, and results are traits that differentiate a manager from a leader.
Another critical leadership trait for executives is the ability to prepare for and respond to crises. Resiliency is a beneficial trait in executives, and an organization’s resilience is determined by the collective capacity of the executive team to act when a crisis is looming (Faustenhammer & Gossler, 2011).
A study conducted in Great Britain suggested that business executives too often lack the ability to successfully transform business intelligence into business strategy (Gilad, 2011). Too many executives define “business intelligence” as nothing more than “competitor watching,” Gilad (2011) contends, and this results in extremely poor decision making on the part of executive teams.
Because of the anticipated growth of millenials ascending to executive leadership roles in the coming years (Ferri-Reed, 2010), the importance of recruiting, selecting, training, and transitioning new leaders is growing (Michaud, 2011). Emerging executives should be allowed—and required—to assess and choose his own team, assess the organization, articulate a vision for the future, and establish open communication processes.
Finally, executives must have the proper attitude and demeanor to receive coaching. Coaching for executives must be systematic, behavioral, communication-oriented, and patterned (Visser, 2010).
All three elements of your human resources—individuals, teams, and executives—absolutely must development concurrently. And adequate resources in terms of funding, time, energy, and leadership commitment must be provided. Without devoting your best efforts and resources to developing your employees, teams, and leaders, your organization will most certainly wane.
Civicus Consulting Group is ready to help you build your team. Contact us to see how we can help.
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