The Rise of the ‘Elite’ Leadership Team

July 15, 2014

With the economy improving slowly but steadily, the continuing entrepreneurial drive of employees, and the increasing cost of a bad executive hire; building a leadership team that brings out the best of the organization is becoming increasingly important to the future of the company.

These leadership teams, if built and sourced properly, provide not only work well together but also will provide the dynamic support to lower leadership that your organization needs. 

Why You Need an Elite Team Now More than Ever

Consider globalization and the speed (not to mention breadth) of technological change and development, which highly fuel this need to constantly develop.


Perhaps another point that highlights the reason that “leadership” remains the No. 1 talent issue facing organizations today is that this term encompasses leadership at every level of an organization (no, we’re not just talking about developing the next CEO or the C-Suite pipeline).

From Deloitte research:

“Twenty-first century leadership is different. Companies face new leadership challenges, including developing Millennials and multiple generations of leaders, meeting the demand for leaders with global fluency and flexibility, building the ability to innovate and inspire others to perform, and acquiring new levels of understanding of rapidly changing technologies and new disciplines and fields.”

7 Characteristics of Elite Leadership Teams

What behaviors should you reward, recruit, and retain? Consider the following characteristics that promote leadership throughout the organization.

1. An elite team puts highest priority on the work of that team. This means that team members do not prioritize their functional team’s action items as more important than the leadership team’s action items.  Plus, with consideration to the importance of team trust, always remember, 100% trust yields 100% effort. 50% trust yields 50% effort. It’s that simple.

2. Team members can articulate the unifying goal to which they are all committed. They don’t parrot the same words, but when you hear them speak about the team purpose in their own words, you see how their perspectives are aligned. In addition to alignment around a common purpose, the team is aligned around how to accomplish the purpose.

3. Individual members don’t always have to have decisions go their way – they listen, consider, and openly debate the way forward — then when the decision is made, they wholeheartedly support it and actively work to make it successful.

4. High Standards (In voice and Practice) for both the Team and the Individual: Demonstrating that you have high standards—not just saying you have high standards—not only breeds excellence in execution, but stokes healthy pride while differentiating your team from the rest of the pack

5. Team members support each other, look out for each other, and give each other frank and honest feedback with the intention to help each other become even more effective.

6. They talk frequently and look forward to spending time together because they value each other’s perspectives and contributions.

7. The Elite Team can Endure Hardship through Shared Suffering: Whether was designed or not, the elite teams are able to endure hardship together. Sometimes it’s a disappointment or defeat. Other times it’s struggling with limited resources or with not being understood or appreciated. Whatever it is, it develops a bond that promotes leadership.

Preparing Leaders for Long-Term Leadership

In a world where knowledge doubles every year and skills have a half-life of 2.5 to 5 years, leaders need to constantly develop.  How can you prepare leaders to meet these needs?

Thanks to TLNT Magazine, we share these 4 tips for developing elite leadership teams.

1. Engage top executives to develop leadership strategy and actively govern leadership development

2. Align and refresh leadership strategies and development to evolving business goals

3. Focus on three aspects of developing leaders (develop leaders at all levels, develop global leaders locally, develop a succession mindset)

4. Implement an effective leadership program.

Develop for Chemistry and Recruit for Missing Pieces

It is not only important to train leaders throughout the organization, but also to bring in the key leaders that will turn leadership team into Elite Leadership Team.  The Overture Group knows the true value in finding the right people to create the right team.  See who we’ve already placed, see what we can do, and see other resources on leadership and hiring:

Contact us to see how we can help you place the right talent in your elite leadership teams.

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