5 Traits of Highly Effective Executive Teams

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High-performing executive teams can achieve results that other teams can only imagine. Executive teams play two critical roles in their company, first by providing operational and strategic leadership. Secondly by providing the cultural and organizational DNA for the business.


Executive team members form a collective leadership body that must perform and interact well. This not only helps the organization make money and thrive but also serves as a model for teams throughout the company to follow. But, what does it take for a group of individuals to coalesce into a successful leadership team?


Is success attributed to taking the best online courses for leadership, or a pure talent or simply luck? Read on to discover the 5 traits of highly effective executive teams.


1. Highly Strategic Focus

Executive teams need to create a business proposal, set objectives, develop strategies, and make sure the people under them execute those strategies effectively. 


This can only work if the executive team can establish a vision for the company and invest the time and energy necessary to build a foundation of success at a strategic level. An effective executive team must:

  • Balance innovation and risk. 
  • Anticipate future opportunities and needs. 
  • Ensure sustainability for the organization. 

All of this takes strategic focus, which is why this is one of the most critical traits of highly effective executive teams. A great leadership team needs to have a laser focus on the future of the organization. 


They must put in the work to shape their plans and take the necessary actions to realize their visions, whether it's doing something as simple as hiring freelancers to help them achieve their objectives or something as complex as managing huge projects.


Important Note: Although some leaders may have an informal approach to setting goals, tracking progress, and getting results, others prefer an extremely disciplined approach. Either way, highly effective teams choose an approach that works best for them and commit to it.


2. Collective Approach


Executive teams play a major role in the success of a company. An annual CEO benchmark report shows that top-performing leadership teams manage to achieve phenomenal results by having a collective approach. 


For the most part, they have shared goals and work together with a company-wide view of their overall functions. The most successful leadership teams are those that recognize the importance of achieving tangible results for their business, such as:

  • Growth
  • Service
  • Legislative success
  • Shareholder value
  • Fundraising, etc.

These leaders are models for the whole organization, showcasing ways to work together, break down silos, and develop solutions to problems that arise in the business. survey of leadership teams also shows that highly effective executive team members prioritize the organization's interests over individual gains. A trait that separates top-performing teams from mediocre ones.


The path for executive teams isn't always clear, but as long as they maintain their collective approach, they know the direction they are going, boosting confidence and collaboration.


3. Interact Intentionally


Team interaction is a vital thread that connects everything they do. But, the very best executive teams are intentional about their interactions. Intentional interaction includes:

  • Listening
  • Strong communication
  • Seeking input from one another 
  • Values differences
  • Respect and trust

These behaviors make the team more effective as a whole. And, perhaps most importantly, they model what interactions between team members should look like for the rest of the organization to see. Executive teams without this characteristic tend to experience many issues that impact their ability to remain focused on results.


Successful teams don't revel in toxic behaviorIn top-performing executive teams, everyone pulls their weight. When someone makes a mistake, there is no finger-pointing. The team comes together to fix the problem and help ensure it doesn't happen again. It's all about trust; strong executive teams will always have each other's backs - especially when things aren't going very well.


Instead of focusing on the faults of their colleagues, each team member reflects on what they are bringing to the table, as well as what they contribute to the team's issues, as a way to supportively hold each other accountable to abiding by the team's expectations.     


After all, the last thing anyone on a leadership team needs to do is take their eye off the ball or let lack of discipline or seemingly trivial problems. It's very easy for detractor issues to prevent leadership teams from boosting productivity and performing at their best.


Teams that keep the lines of communication open to avoid letting fractured relationships or an undisciplined structure take away from their ability to execute effectively and achieve their desired outcomes.


4. Approachable


A great leadership team is accessible and approachable. They aren't strangers to their employees or people who only interact through the organization's B2B portalThey are continually visible in the company, planning talks, hosting webinars, or even just going to events to interact with everyone. 


In addition to that, leadership teams deliberately create spaces that allow them to connect with people at all levels within the organization. Many of these successful executive team members are on a first-name basis with the people in their companies. 


The majority of Fortune 100 Best Companies CEOs and top executives travel to their other locations at least once a year to talk to their people on the front line.

This is because they are genuinely interested in and value the opinion of those helping to deliver their brand promise. 


Members of highly effective executive teams don't instill a sense of nervousness or unease if, for instance, one of their employees has to share an elevator with them. Instead, the executives go out of their way to greet their workers and take the opportunity to chat. They ask about the weather, their pets, favorite podcast shows, and whatever else regular people talk about. 


5. Captain Who Is a Mentor


You should note that while great executive teams can accelerate performance, they can also hold back progress by getting in their own way. That's why it's essential to have a mentor who can act as a guide.


You will find tons of advice online from articles and courses on learning platforms about putting together effective executive teams. Still, it's hard to form a fantastic team capable of producing exceptional results without a strong team leader. 


The team leader plays a pivotal role in every team. In addition to being the team's captain, the leader must also be a mentor who can see each member of the team as an individual, connect with them, and help them see what their role is in the bigger picture. Great team leaders recognize that their team's true value lies in each individual's unique and complementary talents. 


Keep in mind that this isn't about the team leader being everyone's friendThere's no need to act like Michael Scott from The Office. However, leaders can maintain a professional relationship while still being available to coach or mentor the team members.


It's not about having all the answers, eitherIn today's age of YouTube and Google, it's easy for team members to get any information that they need. There might be people on the team with a great deal more knowledge about specific subjects than the leader. There's no need for leaders to feel that they must be the keeper of all knowledge, but instead, they should be there to guide their team through negotiating or prioritizing the complexities that arise in the corporate world. 




From small tech startups to huge multinationals organizations, increasing the effectiveness of an executive team can have a positive impact on the company's bottom line results. The entire organization functions better when the executive team works together in collaborative, effective, strategic ways. 


DH offers Executive Alignment workshops designed to improve communication, clarify the organization's vision, create alignment & strengthen teambuilding.

Executive Leadership  Alignment Workshops

About the Author

Burkhard Berger

Burkhard Berger is the founder of awesomex™. You can follow him on his journey from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on www.awesomex.com. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.


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