We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s lonely at the top”. Lonely can certainly be the norm for leaders. Your Middle Market firm’s C-Suite is no exception. One thing to help with isolation is having a peer or support group. Your C-Suite needs peers to bounce questions off, lend an ear or even offer some much-needed advice.
No matter how it’s made up, your C-Suite needs interactions with others at their level. They also need ready access to those above them to help with their career progression. It isn’t entirely the responsibility of your organization to provide those resources. But, being aware of the C-Suite’s needs and helping them get met certainly will go a long way towards a cohesive and happy executive team.
Why The C-Suite In Particular Needs A Peer Group
Even if you have a full C-Suite, each person is likely the pinnacle of their particular area. So, typically your top executives don’t have a true peer in your organization. They certainly will all offer some measure of support, and have had somewhat similar backgrounds. However, your CIO hasn’t been through the same things as your CFO, etc. Helping each executive find a group or individuals they can connect with will be worth the time and effort. Your executives have a lot riding on their shoulders. They hold responsibilities for extremely key areas of your business. Therefore, they should have outlets and resources to help deal with that responsibility.
How To Assist With Support Needs
Again, it isn’t your full responsibility to find the C-Suite peers and support. However, making sure they have what they need to be successful in your roles is. So, start by having in-depth conversations. These will be different at different points in their tenure, certainly. Use the time to find out what your executives need or what’s lacking in your organization.
When they first come aboard or are promoted is a great time to start laying this foundational groundwork. Find out what is most isolating about their position, what groups or individuals they already use for support and advice and how they’d best benefit from your assistance. As they grow within their roles or take on more responsibility, continue checking in to see how their needs have changed.
Find some networking groups or resources that align with your individual executive’s needs and when you can, offer introductions or facilitate meetings to get the ball rolling. Check in regularly to make sure your C-Suite members are getting full value from these interactions or where they may find they still need additional support.
You may find organizing an advisory board dedicated to helping your C-Suite to be beneficial. You could also look at starting groups that help connect executives with mentors, peers and support systems if nothing seems to be available. Vistage, Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) are three of the most popular peer networking groups for the Middle Market CEO.
Helping your Middle Market C-Suite find and develop relationships with a support or peer group can yield many benefits and results in your organization and will be worth the time and effort you put into it.
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