Senior leadership teams hold a lot of responsibility within a business, and when your leaders aren’t aligned there is a flow-on effect on the team’s performance as a whole.
You might have been in a leadership situation where you don’t quite see eye-to-eye with colleagues, or perhaps have felt the effect of a small miscommunication snowballing and creating major repercussions.
If we’re not aligned as leaders, we can end up going over the same things again and again and again, spending far too much of our time bogged down in the detail, instead of tackling the big dominos that will have a positive effect on the business.
Equally importantly, if we’re not aligned, there is a much higher chance that our team will not be aligned either and sense the division.
In this video we’ll break down the four levels of alignment so you can focus on ensuring you and your leadership team are all on the same page.
Level 1: The Issue
The first thing any leadership team needs to do is align on the issue. Take a moment to decide: do you agree that there is an issue in the first place? Is it understood by everybody in the same way? Are you all aligned on the extent of the issue? Are you all aligned on what’s going to happen if you don’t solve the issue?
Establishing this is essential; if the entire leadership team isn’t aligned at a foundational level, it will be harder to reach a consensus over a solution and the gap between you and the rest of your team might only increase.
Level 2: Our Role
Next, you need to be aligned on the role the leadership team plays in relation to that issue.
Ask yourself and other leaders: What’s the cause for us? Do we need to provide guidance to others in the organisation or handle the issue directly? What decisions do we need to make in relation to the issue?
What is it that we need to decide versus what others decide? Is it our role to provide a framework for the team to follow?
Ensuring your leadership team are all aligned on their role and responsibility in relation to the issue will put you in a much better place to address it.
Level 3: Our Approach
Now you’re clear on the issue and the role of the leadership team in response to the issue, you absolutely have to ensure you are all aligned on the approach you will take.
If each leader takes a different approach in order to address something you may end up confusing your team, so it’s important to take a unified approach.
Questions to ask include: What are the guiding principles that we’re going to take when having this conversation? What is our decision-making framework?
If we’ve decided our role is to make a decision, how are we going to make the decision? Is it a majority rules? Is it a 70% agreement, 100% commitment? Is it something we feel we need to have consensus on? What would be a good guidance framework that we need to give to our people?
Level 4: Our Behaviour
Reaching a level of alignment within a meeting is only part of the equation. What is equally important is how leaders behave outside of the room.
While every leader might be inherently different, there should be a level of consistency across the team so it is clear as leaders you are presenting a ‘unified front’.
Overall, what these four levels of alignment do is create a much stronger sense of unity to people in the organisation.
You can actually work through these four levels as a team and you’ll find you end up having better relationships, more productive conversations and are ultimately making more of an impact in your role.