How To Maximize Your Impact By Building A True Team of Leaders

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This article is part of my Global Leadership series; Insights from more than a decade of leadership training around the world…

To maximize your leadership, it is vital that you be supported by a team of high-capacity leaders. But if all you have are advisors, your leadership is destined to stall.

A team of leaders will:

  • Stretch you,

  • Develop you,

  • Champion you,

  • Work alongside you.

But advisors will simply hand out their recommendations. They are not invested. They are not in the trenches. And to be an impact leader, you need to spot the difference. 

I was working with a team in Australia who, I was told. were leaders who supported the senior leader. But after several trips out to Australia, I saw very clearly that the senior leader was not supported by a team of leaders; he was surrounded by a group of advisors. They were well-meaning people to be sure, but they were not providing leadership. They were doling out simple recommendations.

What’s the difference?

1. The currency of leaders is shared responsibility. The currency of advisors are their opinions

Leaders shoulder the responsibility together. They say, “Here’s what we should all do.”

Advisors deflect the responsibility. They say, “Here’s what you should do.”

2. Leadership is a team sport. Advising is a solo effort.

The mantra of a leadership team is, “All for one, and one for all.” Advisors can deliver their opinions with others in the room, or in complete isolation; it makes no difference.

3. The leaders’ jobs are done once the goal is achieved. The advisor’s job is done the moment their advice has been delivered.

Leaders stick with it until the mission has been accomplished. They roll up their sleeves and stay in the game. Advisors may not give the mission another thought until the next time their advice is requested.

Based on what we saw in Australia, we built an entirely new team. Gone were the advisors, in came a team of leaders with a clear mandate; we needed far more than their recommendations; this new team was required to get their hands dirty, dive into the issues, and support the senior leader with action, not just words.

Within a year, the organization was beginning to soar.

Take stock of your team. Are they “roll up their sleeves”, get-in-the-trenches leaders? Or are they advice-givers.

It may be time to build a new team. Because maximizing your leadership needs a team of leaders, not a group of advisors.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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