Leadership Team Building Basics – A Complete Guide

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As your business grows—and as you add more and more moving parts to scale it upward, you’re going to need to start thinking about leadership team building.
Building teams within your organization is essential because collaboration is essential to success.
Collaboration empowers your company to get more accomplished, and to cut down on wasted time, effort, and resources.
At a certain point, your teams are going to need leadership. And thus—choosing the right time, personnel, and training program for promoting/building a leadership team is essential.
Leaders are responsible for bringing your employees together and equipping them with everything needed to function as a cohesive team.
And in this blog post, you’re going to learn some of the most important leadership team-building basics—to help you get started on the right foot as you embark upon the journey of building your own leadership teams within your organization.

When Will Your Company Be Ready For A Leadership Team?

As an entrepreneur, business owner, CEO, and/or founder, you’re probably sitting somewhere between ‘doing everything yourself’ and ‘needing a leadership team to help you grow and scale your company.’
As a founder, you’ve probably spent quite a bit of time leading your company by yourself.
This is natural, normal, and good.
However, at some point in your organization’s lifespan, training a leadership team is going to become essential to continued forward progress.
And generally, you’ll hit this level at about the same time that you reach the $5 million revenue mark.
Before this, you’ll probably still be leading the company yourself (albeit with a bit of help from a few additional key personnel).
But once you scale past that $5 million dollar level, you’ll discover that it’ll be about time to start creating an actual management team to help you deploy processes, manage your growing employee base, and continue scaling.
It’s often said that businesses don’t actually fail—leaders do. And honestly, this is true! Leadership is incredibly important to any business’s success.

Building Leadership Teams - Getting Started

The process of successfully building a leadership team can basically be boiled down to 4 fundamental steps:
You can learn a lot about the process of growing a team and scaling your business in this guide:
But in this post, we’re going to continue on from where that guide leaves off, and talk about the process of building a leadership team and incorporating it into your business in a manner that’s both functional and scalable.
As a scaling business coach who also helps to train and coach leadership teams for growing businesses, I’m well acquainted with the usual challenges associated with building a leadership team.
So in this section, you’re going to learn some of the basic criteria that I cover in my own leadership team-building coaching program — to help you identify some of the key points to cover as you navigate the process.
The truth is that leadership doesn’t necessarily come naturally to most people.
Most people need to learn an array of different (and important) leadership skills before they’re ready to effectively lead teams of employees.
This is why leadership training is so essential to the process of building your leadership team.

The 2 Different Types Of Leadership Development

In your own leadership journey, you probably started out with very little experience and A LOT of ambition, drive, and potential.
Then, over time, you probably graduated beyond that ‘inexperienced’ part to gain some leadership and business skills—and eventually developed yourself into a formidable ‘team leader’ and ‘business leader’ in your own right.
A lot of business owners and founders don’t realize this—but this ‘leadership journey’ actually spans 2 important stages of growth—and these stages are important to be aware of when selecting potential leadership candidates.
These stages present unique and different challenges—and while the training curriculum could potentially be the same, I generally approach coaching for these two different types of individuals from a slightly different context.
It’s important to understand where your team’s skill level is currently ranked if you really want to select a leadership training or coaching program that’ll provide you with everything needed to equip your team for success.
Here are generally the two different phases that I see when coaching new leadership teams:
Just keep in mind that these two groups are going to need slightly different types of training—which leads into the ‘coaching vs. training’ conversation.

Business Leadership Training Vs. Business Leadership Coaching

As a general rule, leadership training and leadership coaching usually fit into the same category—though there are a few important differences.
Business Leadership Training is usually used to describe a specific course, curriculum, or program designed to help train business leadership teams for success.
Business Leadership Coaching generally includes some type of leadership training program—but it’s also overseen personally by an experienced business leadership coach.
Coaching takes you a step beyond traditional leadership training—and it’s beneficial for a number of reasons.
Coaches can:
With all of that being said, I would definitely encourage you to seek out a high-quality business leadership coaching program if you really want to succeed at building amazing and effective leadership teams.
Getting this part of the process figured out is crucial to successfully scaling your company to 8 figures and beyond.
Note: Did you know that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of new businesses fail within the first 2 years of being open?
A skilled leadership team can definitely help you to prevent this. Quality leadership is an extremely important factor.

Leadership Team Building For A Private Company Vs. A Corporation

There’s also a significant difference in building leadership teams for a private company vs. a corporation.
And really, what this all boils down to is making sure that your senior leadership teams understand the structure of the business, a big-picture-view of overall company processes that are specific to that business’s structure, and the specific responsibilities they’ll hold in relation to the overarching infrastructure of the company.
For a private company, you’ll want to make sure that your management team building process includes specific information and guidance on why their leadership position is important, and how it fits into larger company processes.
And for a corporate company structure, you’ll want to engage in executive team-building processes that include corporate training for corporate company policies.
At the foundational level, the philosophy of both methods of leadership is the same.
But in everyday function, there are quite a few differences—so just make sure that you’re selecting a leadership training program, coaching program, or course that’s catered specifically to the business structure that matches your company.

Small Business Leadership

This is a great question.
Small business leadership, like any other form of leadership, is usually defined as such:
“The ability to lead both employees and the company in general through change, difficulties, or any issue that affects the company in some way.”
In a small business, you’ll still need to be an effective leader. But you may not necessarily need to deal with leadership team building, as this doesn’t really become a necessity for businesses (with the exception of a few key members of management) until you hit that $5 million mark in revenue or so.
With that being said—it’s still important to be effective as a leader in your business, regardless of its size.
Effective leadership will always help businesses to succeed, grow, and scale.

Selecting And Promoting The Right People

Alright. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of it.
Leadership team building all starts with selecting the right people.
If you don’t choose the right people to promote, you’re going to run the risk of undermining employee trust, creating confusion, and ultimately damaging your company’s relationship with its employees .
But if you do choose the right people, you’ll develop trust—and will be putting yourself in a better position to motivate, encourage, and support your employees as your business continues to grow and scale.
To make this as simple as possible, I’ve condensed all of this stuff down into a list of 5 fundamental criteria that you can use when selecting members for your leadership team.
Whether you’re building your first team from scratch or leveling up an existing management team—these fundamental values will help you to pinpoint and select the perfect individuals for the position.

Management Team Building - The 5 Core Leadership Criteria

1. Vision And Values

It’s really important that your leadership team sees and believes in the overarching vision for your company/organization.
It’s also important that your team understand your company’s values.
A leadership team who understands the vision can help steer the company in the proper direction in very small and subtle (yet important) ways on a day-to-day basis.
Over time, this will have a huge positive long-term impact on the company’s success.
And this is overall good for the future of the company.

2. Collaboration And Cooperation

It’s crucially important that your leadership team understands the value in collaboration and cooperation.
The reason for this is because scaling a company is never a solo endeavor.
Your organization is made up of teams of people who need to cooperate and work together to achieve objectives and move the needle forward.
And cooperation and collaboration are the underlying keys to this process.

3. Positive And Encouraging

A leadership team that isn’t focused on being positive and encouraging can really demoralize your employee base—and this can even lead to a work environment that feels ‘hostile’ and ‘unfriendly.’
In order for a leadership team to be effective, they need to be able to lead employees, enforce company policies, and keep order in a manner that’s going to leave the team feeling supported, motivated, and cared for.
When your leadership team excels at this, you’re going to find that your employees will reward you with a greater depth of service and loyalty. And this is a good thing for your company.

4. Ability To Create Impact

Leadership also needs to be effective to the point where their involvement in projects actually creates impact.
In other words, ineffective leadership team members can actually have a stagnating, stifling impact on your bottom line.
They can become their own team’s bottleneck—and this is definitely NOT what you want.
You want to make sure that every member of leadership is truly doing their best to create real impact and move the needle on a daily basis.
This is an essential quality for successful team leaders.

5. Leading By Example

At the end of the day, it’s really important that leadership team members embody the spirit of all the virtues and standards they wish to develop and inspire within their teams.
What you don’t want is a leadership team full of hypocrites who ask for a bunch of stuff while never delivering on their own merits.
This demoralizes the team and just in general takes away from the legitimacy of your company’s leadership.

Training Your New Leadership Team

Once you’ve selected the proper members to your new leadership team, it’ll be time to begin the building/training process.
As I mentioned earlier on in the post, you may want to consider looking into a leadership team coaching program to help you solve some of the more complex issues that can arise when you first start down this path.
Coaching can also be useful for existing leadership teams when you’re trying to either improve the leadership landscape within your organization, or provide your team with additional leadership resources and team leader strengths to help make them even more effective and successful.

360 Leadership Assessment

One of the first things I do, whenever I’m getting ready to start a coaching program for a new leadership team, is to perform a 360 Leadership Assessment to determine the individual strengths and weaknesses of the group.
This assessment is really useful because it provides information about:
This is just another reason for why I really prefer coaching programs to basic training programs.
Coaching programs can cover your business leadership plan with a deeper, more specialized context, while training programs are usually stuck to a fairly rigid framework.
Once we complete the 360 Leadership Assessment, we move on and start addressing the 7 major points of leadership team building training.

7 Major Points Of Leadership Team Building Training

1. Get Them Involved In The Larger Picture

It’s really important for each member of your leadership team to understand the larger context of what your company is doing.
If their scope and frame of vision are too limited, they may not understand the full context of their responsibilities.
And this can really undermine progress.
So as part of your leadership training protocol, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re getting each member of leadership involved in the larger picture—so that they can discern exactly where their team falls in the ‘assembly line,’ and understand the greater scope of things for the company.

2. Make Sure They Understand Your Vision

It’s crucial for leadership to understand the vision of the company, as well as the values and standards that it espouses.

In fact, this is so important that there should always be a specific portion of the leadership training or coaching program specifically dedicated to the topic.

This is important for a number of reasons. But the most important and fundamental reason is this:
Your leadership team is going to play a big role in leading the company forward in the day-to-day processes of accomplishing work and completing objectives.
And understanding the vision will empower them to make important micro adjustments on a daily basis to help keep the company on track.
This adds up to big, positive, productive shifts over the long term.
Remember, having a vision and moving toward it is crucial for business success.

3. Give Them More Responsibility

Some business owners, CEOs, and founders struggle with micromanagement.
If you’re a business owner, CEO, or founder who tends to struggle with this, then you may be hesitant to give your leadership team the kind of power they need in order to make effective decisions and move the company forward.
It’s understandable that you don’t want your leadership team to make big mistakes that could set the business back.
But with that being said, it’s also important to understand that this ‘inability to delegate’ can stifle growth and keep your team from being able to deploy real solutions on a wide scale.
There’s a specific method to this process. I’ve covered it in a bit more depth in this guide:
But the bottom line is this:
It’s important to work through these dynamics because they’re a crucial and integral part of creating a leadership team that’ll actually help you to move the needle.
And in my team building coaching program, I always make sure that we address any problems threatening to keep this process from operating smoothly.

4. Make Them A Part Of Your Team

As the business owner, CEO, or founder, you may struggle to figure out how to define your new role within the scope of your growing leadership team.
Well, here’s the nitty gritty of it.
It’s important for you to assume a leadership position within your new leadership team.
As the business owner/CEO, it’s up to you to lead your team to the heights of success.
This, in turn, will lead your company to greater levels of success—and will just in general produce an overall more positive experience for everyone.
Nobody wants to be on a losing team.
Therefore, as the business owner or CEO, you have a lot of power in helping to launch your business to those greater heights of success—and in turn, cultivate a spirit of greatness within the ranks of your leadership team by personally leading them and creating a cohesive leadership unit.

5. Create Processes, Policies, And Procedures

As you build your leadership team, it’s going to be crucial to bring them into the loop with current processes, policies, and procedures that were instituted to help the company run more efficiently.
Think of these as ‘tools’ in an effective ‘leadership toolbox.’
Each member of leadership is going to need access to these things in order to do the best job they can.
With that being said, if this is the first time you’re advancing into the territory of creating a new leadership team, then you’re probably going to have to build out some additional processes in order to facilitate their deployment.
This is a big transition for your business.
However, if you do it correctly, you’ll free up a lot of your time and make your business more productive.
And this, in turn, will allow you to scale your business to heights you may have never imagined.
But it’s crucial that you make sure to develop efficient policies, procedures, and processes to facilitate this growth.

6. Learn To Trust

Sometimes it’s really difficult for successful business owners to release control of certain elements of their business to their new leadership team.
As a CEO or founder, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time committed to single-handedly leading your business to the heights of success it has thus far reached.
However, it’s also crucial to understand that without trust, you’ll never be able to put your leadership team into a situation where they’ll be set up to help you take the business to even greater levels of success—beyond what you’ve already experienced.
Developing this trust is crucial.
Sure, you may experience setbacks. Sure, you may end up promoting people to leadership, only to realize later that they were the wrong choice.
It’s not going to go perfectly according to plan.
However, it’s really important that you trust the process and understand that this is how you scale businesses to 7 figures, 8 figures, and beyond.
And part of this process also involves making sure that your team is ready for the challenge.

7. Understand That Leadership Team Building Takes Time

Sometimes, business owners and entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that building a leadership team is something that should happen overnight.
They think that you should choose the right people, hand them a stack of papers outlining the company’s policies and procedures, and immediately see an uptick in efficiency and scaled growth.
However, this definitely isn’t how it goes in the real world.
In fact, this is just another reason for why leadership team coaching can be such a vitally crucial element of the team training process.


I hope that this post has helped you to understand the leadership team-building process, and how you can embark upon this process with a high probability of success.
The truth is that executive team building can have a powerfully positive impact on your business. It’s also crucial if you really want to efficiently and effectively scale past that $5 million revenue mark.
At first, this concept may overwhelm you and feel like just another thing that you need to add to that growing to-do list.

But it’s important, and it matters. And I would encourage you to bite the bullet and get started now so that you can set your business up for even greater success later.

If you need some support with this, consider working with a certified business coach. This will give you a fresh perspective, but it’ll also keep you accountable to the process while getting some concrete steps and a strategy that you can deploy right now to get the ball rolling.

If you’re ready to make the leap, click here to book a free discovery call with me today.

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