How To Train Your Executives
Mark Wager will be visiting Fiji from March 27 to 30. If you would like Mark to deliver training at your business contact him at Mark@Leadership.com.fj
An executive leadership team is a collection of the most senior Managers within an organisation.
They are responsible for creating a vision and communicating that vision throughout the organisation while keeping everyone on-point during the inevitably challenging times.
If you imagine an organisation is like a car then the executive leadership team is the steering wheel. Without them working effectively, the organisation will never get to where it wants to be which is why it’s vital to have well trained executives.
A leader in an executive role has to be trained differently from leaders in other roles. Leadership at its very core is the same regardless of position or industry.
Leaders require a different focus depending on where they are on the leadership pathway.
This pathway consists of five unique levels that a leader goes through on their journey to becoming a better leader.
The subject matter expert is the first level of leadership. People who are inspiring their colleagues through their actions rather than their position.
The second level is the Manager level, where a person has been identified as a leader and has been given a position that makes them responsible for people.
The third level is the Leader and this is where the Manager develops the skills to influence across the ranks including upwards within their organisation.
The fourth is the culture creator where the leader is leading other leaders and is motivating through creating environments rather than face to face interactions and the final stage is the legacy creator in which the leader is able to move on because they have developed leaders and created environments that operate independently of them.
Each level is vital for an organisation but typically Executives exist either in the third or fourth level (culture creator or legacy creator) of an organisation.
This level requires a unique type of training.
Use coaching alongside workshops
To train your Executives to become better it is advisable to go with a leadership programme rather than a single workshop.
A one-day workshop is very good for providing people with an introduction to leadership or addressing specific issues such as managing poor performance or learning presentation skills.
Executives should have a good level of leadership skills already otherwise they wouldn’t be in the position they are in so they would benefit more from a leadership programme which is a combination of workshops and individual coaching.
This allows Executives to learn leadership theories as well as have one-on-one ongoing mentoring and support to apply these learnings into their daily work.
Obtain feedback from staff
One of the biggest differences between training your low level leaders and your Executives is in how they receive feedback.
The higher you go in an organisation the less likely it is for you to receive instant feedback form your staff and colleagues so your development needs to include 360 degree feedback surveys.
This is when anonymous feedback is gathered from your staff and colleagues by an independent expert.
This feedback is then summarised and provided to the leader as part of a 100 day action plan.
Not only does this provide the executive with a clear path of how to become better but also a series of metrics which can be used to measure improvement.
Build executive presence
A typical leader interacts with their team on a daily basis but an executive will be responsible for many more staff and some of those staff will have layers of reporting lines between them so the nature and frequency of interactions are different and this requires a different set of leadership skills.
The most successful Executives have what is called “executive presence” where they are very aware of the importance of ensuring their communication both in terms of emails, meetings and speeches is inspirational.
As a result the best Executives are very knowledgeable about the relevant psychological principles needed to create high-performance teams and increase employee motivation.
Never forget Inspirational leadership is like every other set of skills and can be learnt.
Develop strategic thinking
The most effective Executives have what is called “strategic thinking.”
They are able to understand the critical interface between strategic challenges external to the organisation and the internal organisational leadership and execution issues.
This means they can balance the day to day operational issues with the long term business challenges that every industry faces.
The business world is changing very quickly and how people did business ten years ago is very different to how it is conducted today and with the increase of the importance of social media the business world is changing even quicker and the best Executives not only have to manage these changes but also predict them.
Get expert advice
If you can only invest in one kind of training this year then it should be leadership training for your Executives so this will produce the best return on your investment.
For the training to be effective you need to consider approaching external facilities to design and deliver a leadership programme for you.
Always approach people who have expertise and a track record in delivering this type of executive training because it is different from traditional training.
If you have any doubts then test the knowledge of the potential facilitators by asking them to explain what type of leadership philosophy they will be using and their methodology and if they can’t do this then they will not be capable of delivering the type of training that will take your Executives and your business to the next level.
The Executive leadership team may well be the most senior and experienced leaders in your organisation but there will still be room for improvement and any improvement at this senior level can produce increased motivation, productivity and most importantly increased profits.
If you want to invest in the future of your organisation then it’s time to invest in your Executives.