Running a business is difficult. Even under the best of circumstances, it will occasionally test the best working relationships. When you add owners and leaders who don’t like, communicate with, or trust each other into the mix, the results can be devastating.
But in too many organizations, one or more of these vital leadership “must-haves” is missing. At best, this holds companies back. At worst, it threatens the sustainability of the organization. If your leaders can’t figure out how to work with each other, there’s no way they’re going to be able to effectively manage the team, either through a crisis or onward toward success.
So how do you make sure business owners and leadership get on the same page? Get back to the basics.
1.) Look for the positive
Do you have to like your fellow leaders in other to be a successful team? Not necessarily. It’s awesome when that’s the case, but being best friends isn’t a prerequisite for great leadership. What is required is an appreciation for what each person brings to the table.
Strong teams have complementary skills, talents and ideas. These skills, talents, ideas – and the results that come from them – are what you need to like.
When you actually like one another as individuals, it’s easy to see the positive things everyone has to offer. But when you don’t particularly like someone, you may have to look harder to see what they contribute to the cause. Commit to doing it. It’s worth the effort.
2.) Cultivate communication
Effective communication is important to any relationship, but it’s absolutely critical in ownership and/or leadership groups.
Nothing can be communicated effectively to the rest of the organization until it’s been communicated effectively within the very top levels. If you’re in a leadership role and you’re not willing to share honest opinions, address the elephants in the room, or contribute to discussions that will lead to critical decisions and progress, you’re not doing your job.
Your company can’t get anywhere without a unified leadership direction.
3.) Build Trust
Lack of trust among leadership is an organizational cancer that, if not addressed aggressively, will bring the eventual demise of even the most successful company.
Low levels of trust will result in every single decision being over analyzed, challenged, and critiqued to the point that the diluted result will have very little impact or meaning.
When there is a lack of trust at the top level, it will filter down to the rest of the organization. Your team will pick sides or lose trust themselves. And if your people don’t trust your organization, you’ve got a pretty serious problem.
Nurturing and maintaining trust at the top is key to creating harmony throughout the business.
4.) Lead united
When it comes to running a business, there are new challenges at every turn, even in ideal scenarios. And how often are things ideal?
Think about what you need from leadership during times of organizational stress. What happens when you are threatened by an aggressive competitor, when your clients/employees start to leave, when new clients aren’t materializing, or when the ink is red?
Experiencing a crisis like this will absolutely test your mettle. But if you have a strong, cohesive team, the crisis will make you even stronger and bring you even closer together.
If you have a loosely aligned group of individuals who don’t really like each other, can’t communicate effectively, and mistrust one another’s intentions, you’ll likely find that you’re fighting amongst yourselves more than you are fighting the common enemy. And that isn’t the way to win.
Building the dream team
When the stress hits the fan, what kind of team do you want to be on? Wise owners and leaders will make sure they are facing tough (and rewarding!) situations with people they like, trust, and can communicate with.
Just remember, none of these things happen by chance. Your team culture and characteristics have to be deliberately created and maintained every single day.
Is your broker truly excited about organizational problem solving and helping you design an employee benefits strategy that helps you recruit top talent and makes your job easier? If you’re looking for a corporate employee benefits consultant who is a true business partner, Raffa Financial is here for you.
Photo by By ANADMAN BVBA