Founder and Principal of ListenForward LLC, Steve Schloss, is a dedicated Edison Partners Operating Partner, focusing much of his career on executive coaching and advising. His conversation with Managing Partner Chris Sugden explores the critical aspects of leadership, authenticity, coaching, and team development.
The Importance of Authenticity in Leadership and Culture
Authenticity is a fundamental trait. Chris and Steve emphasize the need for leaders to align their words and actions, fostering trust, transparency, and commitment. "There is a trust deficit in leadership right now," says Steve. When leaders are genuine in their communication and actions, they build and maintain a higher quality trust within their teams and organizations.
The Role of Coaching in Personal and Organizational Growth
Coaching is highly significant to personal and organizational development. Coaching is not therapy, and it's not about fixing a person's flaws. Rather, it's about helping individuals uncover their potential. Steve explains that coaching can take various forms, including individual coaching and team coaching; it is "very much about helping someone discover what's possible in themselves."
Leaders seeking coaching must be willing to commit to the process and invest the time and effort required to improve. Successful coaching involves setting clear goals, practicing and experimenting, then involving stakeholders who can benefit from the individual's growth. It's a collaborative effort that requires commitment and choice from both the coach and the mentee.
The Responsibility of Leaders in Developing Their Teams
Leaders often focus on individual growth, but they must also invest time and effort in building and shaping their teams. Take the 'you have the team you deserve' philosophy. "Ultimately what happens is people don't realize the effect that they have on those they lead, and that may be a question of blind spot, but it may also be that in this modern workplace, the style and approach that they used in the past just is no longer relevant and valuable."
Leaders are directly accountable for the development and success of their teams. It's not enough to provide resources and expect individuals to figure it out on their own. Effective leaders invest in growing and shaping their people, treating team building as a critical, evolving skillset.
Understanding how best to lead an evolving team is understanding "the extent to which you see their ability to build, to scale, and to get the most out of the team" at hand. Steve reminds us that leveraging coaching, authentic leadership, and team development exercises are a surefire way to electrifying your team's growth, one swing at a time.