In my experience coaching CEOs, I've found that many of them go through periods of loneliness when leading their organizations. This scenario always intrigues me when I come across it. How did it develop? Why do they feel isolated? Did this happen overnight, or were there warning signs? What could they have done to prevent this isolation?
When leaders feel isolated, it is most likely a result of either not building the right team along the way or overleveraging the few leaders they have. Great leaders hire awesome players they like to be around, give those players clear direction, and then get out of the way. Delegation is key.
But why doesn't this always happen? Here are some contributing factors:
1. Seeking Power and Control
Inexperienced leaders don't want anyone around who will challenge their authority. They want to steal the limelight and often view strong team members with insecurity. Viewing peers who bring significant experience to the table with trepidation holds your company back. Give up micromanagement and give your team free reign to take ownership of their respective areas of expertise.
2. Not Investing in Your Team
Saving money by not investing in professional development resources to build strong leadership teams won't get anyone to the finish line. Invest heavily in those whom you surround yourself with and you'll soon see the ROI.
3. Hiring 'Yes' People
While it avoids conflict, hiring "yes" people is not the answer. Leaders need others to challenge the status quo and to provide inspiration and energy to the team. Without dissent, there is no change, and change is the key to progress.
4. Not Having Enough Diversity
Diversity fosters better and alternative ideas in the decision-making process. Bringing different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view to the management table leads to a more effective strategy.
5. Delaying Decisions
With each passing day, the ability to capture opportunities diminishes. Don't get held back by procrastinating or let the decision-making process get bogged down by meetings, committees, or approvals. Set a goal, determine the most efficient steps toward achieving that goal, and closely monitor the decision-making process to make sure key items don't get passed over.
6. Overloading Your Team
At some point an additional 1 percent is just too much. Avoid burnout and taking your team for granted. It's one thing to be efficient with human capital and another thing entirely to spread people too thin. Successfully managing your management team means constantly monitoring your expectations, their workload, and the resources they need to get the job done.
7. Not Firing C-Players Fast Enough
A-players want to work with other A-players. Keeping C-players on the team to avoid conflict can ruin an organization because these employees bring the playing field down a notch. Set high expectations for your entire team and maintain those expectations by hiring likeminded professionals who bring tangible value to the table.
People are the catalysts that make businesses perform, and people, not processes, determine whether or not businesses will flourish or flounder. If you are not willing to hire the right people, fire the wrong people, or heavily invest in the people you already have on board, then tread lightly. Trouble is sure to be on the horizon.