Why do you need to build a leadership team? Just because you’re the owner shouldn’t mean you have to do all the leading. And even if you’re really good at it, more heads are always better than one.
Besides, like it or not, there’s no way you as one person can provide better leadership than a small group of hand-selected, committed, smart, and inspiring managers whose skills and knowledge compliment yours!
We advise most every small business owner we coach to build a leadership team, aka management team.
Even small businesses need to build a leadership team. Like org charts (see last month’s blogpost), you may view a leadership team as one of those corporate-sounding activities that isn’t really necessary in the world of small business. But a leadership team frees you to do the deep thinking that’s so necessary to the success of your business. The owner of a company should be focused on the organization as it will be in the future. If you’re not looking at your business’ future, you can be sure no one else is. And the only way you can be free to do this is if you have a team of leaders who are equipped with the skills and empowered with the authority to run your business.
How to build your leadership team? Four factors generally play into how many people you put on your leadership team and how you structure it:
- The size of your company
- The service or product you provide
- How your lines of business are organized and
- The amount of time the owner wants to spend on the business
When we say ‘build your leadership team,’ we mean for you to select and put in place a team of no more than 4-6 strong leaders who function as decision-makers and strategizers for a large portion or unit of your business.
Aim for your leadership team to be about 20% of your total employee size, up to around 25 – 30 employees keeping in mind that the maximum number you want is usually not more than 4 to 6 leaders, no matter if you have 30 employees or 300. If you have three, or four, or five employees, your leadership team may just be you and one other person. If you have 8 or 10 employees, you might have 2 or 3 on your leadership team. If you have 20 employees, you may have 4 or 5 on your leadership team or for 30 employees, 4 to 6 on your leadership team.
Four more examples of how clients have structured their leadership teams :
- A 25-person restoration company created a leadership team of three: the husband and wife owners and a general manager.
- A metal parts manufacturer who employees 75 people chose the head of each of 5 units to join the owner on a 6-person leadership team.
- A family-owned and operated home health, mobility, and accessibility equipment provider with 12 employees made the father and son owners their leadership team of two.
- An 80-employee construction company with locations in 2 major cities has 4 family members and a general manager who form their 5-person leadership team.
There are exceptions and every company is different. One of our clients provides labor professionals and while they have over 100 construction professionals, their function and level are similar and the remaining 6 employees comprise support functions so the leadership team can be on the smaller side, in this case, 3 people. In an opposite example, in one of our accounting firm clients, accountants can buy and be gifted shares and become owners so, though the firm only has 8 employees, 4 are owners and are also the leadership team.
How to select your leadership team
When it comes to who you select to put on your leadership team, the best of all worlds is if you can find people inside your company. It’s hard to beat the knowledge that comes from existing relationships.
Consider technical and personal factors for your leadership team members. First, you’re looking for high-level skills, knowledge, and experience. However, take care to select people whose skills, knowledge, and experience compliment and add to yours.
Obviously, you’ll look inside your company at people who are already in leadership roles but also take a look at people not in a leadership role. This could be someone to whom others go to with questions or for advice. It may be an individual contributor who you’ve noticed makes solid strategic suggestions, tends to see the big picture, or who gets to the bottom line of an issue quickly. Ask yourself if they could be good people managers, if they could be developed into leaders, and would others be inspired and motivated by their leadership?
Once you have your leadership team in place, set up a regular meeting rhythm with them. Put a weekly or twice-monthly 60-90 minute meeting in place to set and monitor performance metrics and so the leadership team can stay updated and aware of what the rest of the company is doing and how it may impact their unit.
Once a quarter, bring your leadership team together for a longer meeting to re-look and adjust strategy that you’ve set.
This quarterly meeting is also why we host the Growth Plan Workshop. Each quarter, leadership teams of businesses of all shapes and sizes gather to learn from one another and to discuss and adjust their quarterly plans.
We invite you to join us any time. The next one is Thur., March 16, 9—3pm at Renaissance Indianapolis North, 11925 N. Meridian Street Carmel, IN 46032. Visit our website to register.
This is a great opportunity to step out of the day-to-day with your leadership team. If you don’t have one yet, come see how they operate and learn more about how to build yours. Or you can call today, and we’ll be happy to share more information about how to build your leadership team.