Influence to integrate for impact

One of the dimensions of the leader-of-leaders role that is easy to neglect is your role as a connector beyond your direct leaders and teams. As well as leading your immediate team, you are also a leader more broadly, connecting with your peer leaders, corporate functions and people and organisations beyond your own business.

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When you move into your first role where you are the leader of other leaders, at first your focus is on the leaders and the teams that directly report to you. There is a lot to get your head around. One of the dimensions of the leader-of-leaders role that is easy to neglect is your role as a connector beyond your direct leaders and teams. As well as leading your immediate team, you are also a leader more broadly, connecting with your peer leaders, corporate functions and people and organisations beyond your own business.

The main purpose of this connecting role is to ensure the work of your various teams integrates into the strategy and workflows of the broader organisation. We can call this influencing to integrate. Depending on your specific role, about 20-40% of your long-term effectiveness is driven by how well you influence to integrate. For a leader of other leaders, there are six risks you face if you neglect the work of influencing to integrate.

Risk 1: Miss the subtle shifts

If you neglect influencing to integrate, you and your team will fail to keep up with informal and gradual shifts in customer expectations, organisational mood and culture. This is the stuff that isn’t in the official emails, or even presented in meetings. It’s not that people are deliberately hiding anything, rather, it’s more that you start to miss these emerging themes and movements.

Risk 2: Become disconnected

If you and your team miss enough of these subtle shifts, you can gradually become disconnected from the main strategy and flow of the organisation. This often shows itself in little moments, such as when you misread a cue in a meeting, or one of your reporting leaders gets wound up about an issue that isn’t that important in the larger scheme of things.

Risk 3: Internal focus

You and your team can drift into too much internal focus. You start spending too much time and energy on relationships in your team, what’s not working, how you irritate each other, and what’s wrong with the rest of the organisation (which, of course, just ‘doesn’t understand’ what your team is going through).

Risk 4: Fail to collaborate

You can start to miss the opportunities to genuinely collaborate with other leaders and other teams across the organisation. Because you are becoming disconnected, missing the cues, and getting too internally focused, you can’t identify areas of improvement and collaboration. It will still happen, but you won’t be a part of it. And you won’t realise it until it’s too late.

Risk 5: Get a negative reputation

As the previous risks start to materialise, they combine to gradually erode the reputation of you and your team. Everyone, and certainly every leader, has a reputation in your organisation. People do talk about you behind your back – it’s just what humans do. If you are not paying enough attention to influencing to integrate, other leaders and contributors will most likely say less nice things about you and your team.

Risk 6: Drift into irrelevance

All of this finally leads to the drift into irrelevance. If the work of your team can be sourced somewhere else, then people will start doing that. Eventually, a leader high enough up will ask the hard question about what the value of your team really is, or they will simply not understand why your team exists.

The good news is that influencing to integrate doesn’t have to take up huge amounts of your time. It’s about gradually building connections by starting with just two or three key relationships. In the early days of your new role as a leader of leaders, you may only need to spend a few hours a week on it. But make a start.

Being Leaders delivers a leadership development program, working with people who are navigating their leader-of-leaders role. Based on the concepts in the Amazon best-seller, Becoming a Leader of Leaders, the program provides practical tools and resources to help people transform from overworked to incredibly impactful.

Transform your people from overworked to incredibly impactful.

Contact Being Leaders to find out more.

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