The Most Effective Leaders Know It’s All About The Team

An effective leader is often defined by his or her professional accomplishments, corporate values and management style. However, the most effective leaders I’ve worked with recognize that they are only as good as the teams they are leading. In a world of globalization, innovation, technology and data, it’s nearly impossible for one leader to stay on top of everything. The best leaders focus on building, growing, and retaining star teams—teams that contribute to the success of the leader but more importantly, the success of the organization.

BUILD. Leading an in-house agency is much like coaching a sports team. The leader builds an organization where each person contributes a specific skill to enable a shared objective. Successful leaders identify talent gaps and factor that into their recruiting. One of the most effective leaders I’ve ever worked with recognized his own weaknesses and made it his mission to “hire people who are smarter than I am.” Before making new hires, he would step back, review his org chart and make sure the candidates he was evaluating fit the game plan. His hiring decisions laddered up to an organizational strategy that helped him determine who to hire and who to trade to another team.

GROW. As a leader, it’s important to identify opportunities that can advance careers and enable succession planning. Strong leaders groom their team members for months, if not years, to prepare them for future opportunities within the organization including replacing existing leaders themselves. One of our clients, a Fortune 1000 CMO, was looking to hire an SVP of Marketing. The search wasn’t simply to find a qualified SVP, but rather to find a candidate with the right combination of attributes to be groomed to take the place of the CMO when the time was right.

RETAIN. Most in-house agency leaders are accountable for meeting revenue targets, but how often are individual staff members held accountable for contributing to the bottom line? And what about collaboration—how many of you hold your teams accountable for partnering effectively with others? Statistics show that employees with clear accountability metrics baked into their performance plans have greater job satisfaction and increased tenure because they feel empowered. With empowerment comes the initiative to take risks and make decisions, which are critical to growth and success. Make your team accountable. Your star performers will be more likely to stay because they’ll be more likely to thrive.

Want to learn more about how to optimize your organizational strategy through effective leadership and team hiring practices? Pile and Company, an IHAF member company, brings over two decades of experience to marketing organizations and in-house agencies in need of senior-management and individual staffing solutions. Pile’s one-to-one approach coupled with an understanding of the industry enables them to make the right match for the position as well as the organization—enabling the success of in-house teams and their clients.

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