Why Leadership Shouldn't Be a Solo Act: 4 Keys To Building a Support System
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Why Leadership Shouldn't Be a Solo Act: 4 Keys To Building a Support System

Why Leadership Shouldn't Be a Solo Act: 4 Keys To Building a Support System

The role of CMO has been steadily expanding in recent years, in tandem with breaking down silos and gaining cross-functional expertise. As a result, CMOs and other marketing leaders today are playing an increasing role in the C-suite. For many marketers who have become leaders, however, training and preparedness for the role may still be lacking. Here are four basic tips from ForbesBook author of “Beyond The Superhero: Executive Leadership for the Rest of Us.” (For you more accomplished leaders, there’s no shame in reviewing the basics!)

The big idea: Company leaders are ill-advised to go it alone and try to handle all the major tasks related to today’s complex business world. They must know how to build a strong support system that creates a positive, productive, and durable culture.

When we as business leaders feel overwhelmed, the reason is that we sense a gap between what’s expected of us and what we’re capable of. It’s fundamentally unfair that we’re in this position where we – and seemingly everybody around us – believe it’s all up to us.

Leaders must accept and acknowledge that they cannot do it all. Then they can set about fulfilling one of their most important roles: building a talented, committed team that supports them and, in turn, achieves the goals they have defined.

Data: A study shows more than half of business leaders feel indications of burnout. As a result, many expect to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Here are my four keys for leaders to build strong support systems:

  • Simplicity. This is vital in terms of clear communication and having clarity of purpose.
  • Authenticity. The best business leaders boost or restore their confidence by exercising humility, which shows authenticity and opens a two-way street of trust. Having authenticity allows a senior leader to ask a lot of questions without seeming threatening or invasive.
  • Electricity. When work has meaning and purpose, it generates excitement in the workplace. A company culture with electricity sparks energy and innovation among its team members.
  • Accountability. This is too often lacking on a consistent basis in many organizations. A leader needs to work with their direct reports to set standards and structures for performance, making sure all managers are on the same page.

Final word: A company culture does not grow and blossom uniformly, and it can wither in the shadows created by the wrong managers. Building a support system as a senior leader involves having direct reports and department heads who share your beliefs about the value of the four keys.

Jason Randall is CEO of Questco, an HR outsourcing company, and ForbesBooks author of Beyond The Superhero: Executive Leadership for the Rest of Us. Formerly he was director of brand marketing for Maritz and vice president/managing director of Insperity.

Published: October 26th, 2021

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