Your Inner Circle
6 ways to build your own group of trusted leadership advisors
Leadership is not a solo sport. Who you surround yourself with, who you share your challenges with, and who you take advice from, will shape the leader you become.
Whether or not you really are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, who you surround yourself with can be incredibly powerful.
Take a moment and think.
Who is in your corner cheering you on loudly whilst also telling you quiet honest truths every so often?
Who are the first people you call when you need a sounding board?
Building a diverse team of trusted advisors with different skills, perspectives, and experiences to the table doesn’t happen by chance.
It requires intentional strategic design and nurturing. And that takes time.
For results-driven leaders, investing in the cultivation of deep relationships can be a challenge when other, more pressing, priorities take precedence.
But if you want to surround yourself with a collaborative team of trusted advisors who can help you lead with confidence and integrity, you’ll need to create space.
Read on and the next four minutes will help you do just that.
Reflect: Think about a leader that you admire.
Who is in their inner circle right now?
How has their circle of advisors evolved over time?
How does it serve them?
Learn: A strong circle of trusted advisors will help you make informed decisions, navigate complex challenges, and seize new opportunities. They will be your cheerleaders and also give you constructive feedback when you need it.
Look back over the last three years:
What have you learned from those closest to you?
What have you done to cultivate the trusted relationships you want?
What two things can you do to make it easier for your inner circle to help you in the future?
Design: Be deliberate and intentional with who you let in. Bigger isn’t better. Neither is being solely dependent on one primary advisor.
Your inner circle should challenge your assumptions and help you learn from their experience. They will push you to succeed and be the best you can be.
Are those around you pushing you as much as you could be?**
To what degree does your inner circle challenge your assumptions?
Where do you need a shake-up?
**(If you are one of the consistently highest performers in your business, this is even more critical)
Diversify: Human relationships are often formed on the basis of having something in common and it is natural to gravitate towards people of similar gender, race, sexuality, and frame of reference.
This affinity bias can come into play when shaping your inner circle.
Ask yourself: Is everyone from your industry? Are they all introverts or extroverts? Big picture or analytical? How does each person think in a way that’s different from the others? Did everyone have a similar career path to get to where they are now?
An inner circle that lacks diversity will lack diversity of ideas and innovation.
Take a look at your current inner circle.
What demographics do those in my inner circle have, similar to you?
What characteristics and opinions are you missing out on?
What new perspectives could they bring you?
Read: For suggestions and tips, this short read by Kourtney Whitehead in Forbes has a five-point plan to play with:
Reconcile: A diverse group of advisors with different backgrounds, experiences, and priorities, will give you a mix of opinions and viewpoints that may not always align.
And it can be frustrating on occasion to try and reconcile these views with your ambitions.
Keep two things in mind: what you are trying to achieve and the personal values that you live by. When you find yourself caught between different opinions, ask yourself:
What am I trying to do here?
What resonates with my personal values and what doesn’t?
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