Boardroom

This post was originally published by Action Coach. You can find the original here.


A sign of a successful business is that you are no longer able to run it by yourself.

You need to make a choice about who in your team will help you make decisions.

Resist the immediate urge to go with your longest-standing most exemplary employee for just a moment.

Let me explain what you need to be considering carefully before choosing who makes up your leadership team.

Leadership requires a very specific outlook and skillset. Usually, those who are best at their jobs would actually find leadership less satisfying than taking charge of senior management.

Make sure you are paying close attention to the reasons you are giving someone a leadership role. Set people up to win by putting them where they thrive.

Most of the businesses get their leadership teams wrong, which actually costs them quite a bit of time and effort.

Today I’m going to talk about how to get the leadership team right and how to identify the right members to form power of that team.

What is a leader vs a manager?

Now let’s start with the basics. If you’re calling it a leadership team the assumption is that it’s made of the leaders.

But before we go there, do you really understand the difference between a manager and a leader?

Ask yourself this question.

Now the main difference between a manager and a leader is the difference in focus.

The manager is inward-focused.

The manager looks at:

  • Selection of team members
  • Making sure team is clear on outcomes
  • Team is motivated
  • Team develops
  • Building systems and structures.
Wherein the leader looks at:
  • The bigger picture
  • The strategy
  • The competition
  • The landscape
  • The vision
  • The next challenge
The leader is thinking about the next five years and then brings back that focus into the business and actually pretty much hands it over to the manager for implementation.

Should your senior managers lead your team?

Now what I’ve seen very often is that business executives when they’re trying to form their leadership team, they actually pick their top managers and put them in this team and call it leadership team. It sounds very fancy, very exciting but actually, is that the right way to do this?

Because if you are simply taking your most advanced or senior most managers and making them the leader then actually the role will be misunderstood, will not be played well, and the overall structure will fall apart.

So please make sure that when you are calling it a leadership team you’re identifying the people with that vision with that strategic thinking. And when you are calling it a senior management team or just the management team it’s made of your most advanced managers who understand the importance of hiring the right talent, making that talent work in the business and systemizing the overall business.

Let me remind you once again this is not just a definition nuance. It’s actually a big distinction that you need to understand because this is how then you set expectation from whether it’s your management team or leadership team and that’s how people then deliver the best outcomes that you’re after.