C-Suite Conflict Resolution: Navigating Leadership Struggles
These past few months I have been offering my expertise in C-Suite conflict resolution, doing quite a bit of coaching and consulting with C-Suite Leaders and teams that are struggling. Struggling to Improve c-suite communication, struggling to work together, struggling to push to the next level, and struggling to keep their challenges from impacting their direct reports and the rest of the company.
When the C-Suite does not work well together, there is evident dysfunction among members and the impact is companywide, making C-Suite conflict resolution a priority. It is felt by other members of the C-Suite team, customers and all employees at every level of your organization.
And while that is never good, the worst impact is in your results. Your company will never reach its full potential if your C-Suite Level leaders can’t function successfully as a Building Trust in the C-Suite and the wider team is critical to overcome these issues.
Why C-Suite Leaders Struggle To Get Along
C-Suite conflict resolution begins with understanding why the conflict happens. So why do C-Suite level leaders struggle so much to get along?
I mean really, these are our best and brightest, and our top leaders of our company. Why can’t they make it work? Well, through my work in C-Suite conflict resolution, I've found there are a number of reasons.
Okay that may be a little strong ???? But you get it. These are highly successful leaders with strong opinions, with a lot of their identity attached to their success.
Your C-Suite leaders represent different departments and company initiatives, and their success is often tied to their division goals, not the goals of the company.
Producing results, retaining employees and customers, and managing margins in today’s marketplace is tough. Often the pressure and stress can get to some leaders, and lead to them behaving in a way that is not professional and team focused.
Time, resources, priorities are limited in any organization. Every C-Suite leader wants their division to be the one who gets the most of the time and resources and be the number one priority for the organization.
Lack of Trust/Relationships
C-Suite leaders are busy, and there is not always the time to invest in building the connections and relationships to create the trust that is needed for a high functioning team.
Different Styles of Communication
C-Suite leaders have their own styles and ways of leading and communicating that are not always compatible with others on the C-Suite Team.
Building a Strong Executive Team: Setting Expectations Of Your C-Suite
The path to C-Suite conflict resolution often begins with setting clear expectations. So once you understand the C-Suite level leader, you can easily see why these teams are challenged at times to work together and get along. And while it is understandable, it is not acceptable.
As the CEO, if you want your team to excel and your company to achieve its goals, then you need the C-Suite to work well together, and be a high functioning team. So how do you resolve executive conflicts and improve harmony?
So where do you turn and how do you make that happen?
It all comes down to culture and what you as the CEO set as expectations, hold the C-Suite accountable for, and reward and recognize.
Here are six expectations you should have of every C-Suite Leader. C-Suite Leaders, these are expectations you should have of yourselves.
First and foremost, put the success of every C-Suite Leader on their ability to use collaboration versus competition. Review how well they work across departments and with other leaders.
Hold your C-suite level leaders accountable for the strategic initiatives of the organization, not just of their division. Make them accountable and reward them for the success of their own departments, but more so for their ability to drive success across the company.
Tolerate, expect and accept nothing less than direct conversations. Leaders need to say what must be said to the team members and other leaders. C-suite leaders that lack the courage to call out the elephant in the room, or feel the need to talk to others about their challenges with team members rather than to the team member cannot be tolerated.
You need your C-Suite leaders to be inspirational leaders who can lead not only their own teams, but the entire C-Suite to work together and drive results.
Your C-Suite leaders need to seek first to understand. You need a strong group of leaders who understand they may not always agree, but they are willing to listen, ask questions and learn from others on the team about their perspectives, their views and goals.
And last but not least, your C-Suite leader must be open to change, new ideas, and new strategies to get the work done.
Implementing a C-Suite conflict resolution strategy is never easy. Leading a C-Suite is challenging, and being a member can be extremely tough. But in today’s marketplace, getting results in your own division is not enough.
If that is your only goal as a C-Suite member or a CEO, then you do not have a C-Suite team that can drive the results you need.