The Power of Fostering Executive Leadership

By Jaci Reed

What separates someone who is simply a “manager” or “boss” from an effective leader who truly inspires their employees and drives their organization to unparalleled success? 

From family-run enterprises to Fortune 500 corporations, this question has puzzled many CEOs and senior executive leaders throughout the ages.

Perhaps the best way to begin to answer this question is to think back to a time when you experienced great leadership during your journey to your current position. Consider a time when one of your mentors inspired you or a moment when your own leadership was at its best and your company hit a new high point. What was it that you or your mentor did to achieve this success?

Similarly, think of the times when the leaders around you may have failed, or your own leadership skills fell short. What was it that was different about these particular moments from the times where you felt successful?

What you’ll likely uncover from this exercise is that in those times of success those leading the mission, whether yourself or someone else, were open, transparent, and respectful. They challenged their team in a way that was honest, but supportive. They knew when to utilize their own strengths and when to let go and rely on the talents of those around them rather than trying to do everything themselves.

What this will tell you is that a truly effective leader is someone who inspires others to follow them on their own accord. They not only inspire the mission of their organization but take the lead in modeling what it means to drive towards it.

They work to develop the competencies of others, and develop a deep mutual trust between themselves and their team.  It is through this trust that they also know when it’s okay to let go of their grip on the reins.

Ultimately, the key to long term prosperity of yourself and your organization is making sure that you foster these strong, shining examples of leadership from the top down… and this starts with you!

Developing Your Own Executive Leadership Skills

So how do you become a truly inspirational leader?

First off, it’s essential to remain transparent, vulnerable, and open with your team and encourage them to do the same with you. Furthermore, you must take the time to realize and foster your own leadership abilities, remove blind spots, and identify when it’s okay to let go and rely on other leadership team members to step in and utilize their own strengths. Once you are able to do that the burden of carrying your organization on your shoulders will be lifted and you can shift to focusing on those key things you can directly influence.

It is with this in mind that Transcend utilizes a set of research-based executive competencies as the benchmark for how to lead into the future. To be an effective leader, you should be strong in all of these, but also surround yourself with a team that can deliver across the full spectrum of competencies as well.

You can explore Transcend’s Essential Executive Competencies by downloading a copy

We guarantee it will be the most impactful resource you read today. Transcend executive coaching provides you with a mirror that allows you to identify where you are strong in these competencies, and put them into context. It also provides you with an honest look at where you might fall short, in order to expel limiting beliefs, and reimagine the truths about your leadership and the influence you have over your team and your organization.

Remember earlier when you were reflecting on those times in your journey that leadership succeeded or struggled?

Executive coaching gives you strategies to capitalize on those competencies you excel at, to identify where you might be holding yourself and others back, and to remove your blind spots. It provides a venue for you to become crystal clear on your vision for leadership, your future, and the company you lead to ensure you act in alignment with those goals.

Just as importantly, executive coaching gives you the tools to identify the top leadership talent in your organization, and understand how to nurture them in the right ways that fit with your company culture and leadership style.

This will allow you to shift your outlook to be the individual that inspires the mission of the organization as a whole and takes the lead in modeling what it means to drive towards it. From there you have to impart others with the freedom, knowledge, and capability to achieve that mission, providing support and guidance, rather than mandates. Remember, true power in leadership comes when you know you can let go.

Fostering Executive Leadership Skills In Others

You might now be asking, how do I recognize those in my organization who are ready for executive leadership growth?

The process starts with selecting those who exhibit the same executive competencies you should look for in yourself. However, every company has its own particular needs and challenges. As a result, part of finding potential executive leadership talent in your organization is tied to identifying those individuals that work well within the specific culture, values, norms, and vision of your company.

To assist with this process Transcend has developed a Quick Team Talent Assessment that can be easily catered to any organization. For each executive position in your organization it will give you the tools to identify:

      • What are the parts of the vision/long term goals this key role needs to be focused on?

      • What top 5 competencies are critical to this role?

      • What other areas of technical skills or expertise are needed to be successful in this role? For instance, would having a financial background, sales experience, or human resources expertise be valuable skills for fulfilling the demands of this position?

      • What other characteristics or traits does this person need to have? For example, do they need to possess complex problem solving skills, be an excellent communicator, or have a progressive mindset to succeed in this position?

      • Who in the organization already possesses or has the potential to possess these competencies, technical skills, and characteristics?

    Once you have identified the ideal traits for a leader in each role, you are able to determine what gaps each candidate will need to fill to become an effective leader in that position. From there, come up with a leadership development plan that will push each executive to grow beyond their current capabilities and fill those gaps through methods such as shadowing, mentoring, and/or coaching.

    When doing this it’s important not to play favorites, but to provide each executive with the honest feedback they need to overcome their own blindspots and capitalize on their strengths. Have regular check-ins and ask questions about what decisions they would make or solutions they would choose if they were in your shoes. Then use your discussion to provide insights they may not have thought of.

    Nurture these executives, by giving them autonomy and allowing them to be “the CEO of their roles”. Let them own leadership meetings and reporting out. Encourage them to collaborate with and be accountable to one another. Be fully transparent with them about the business and encourage them to do the same, so they can make smart decisions in the best interest of the company.

    Perhaps most importantly, be sure to model the behavior you want to see from your executive leaders. They will take cues on how to drive the company objectives from you.

    Ultimately, taking the initiative to build a cohesive and competent executive leadership team that stands on their own will give you more capacity, and allow you to put your efforts towards effectively inspiring and driving the mission forward.

    How Executive Leadership Benefits You and Your Organization

    The lesson here is that taking the time to foster the executive leadership competencies in others is just as important as the work you do to develop your own executive leadership skills.

    Executive coaching allows you to shift your mindset to focus on those things you can directly influence. It also lets you recognize when you should reallocate time to provide what is necessary for other executives to grow and fill leadership gaps through efforts such as mentorship, coaching, shadowing, and/or executive leadership programs.

    These are the moments that will drive value and are well worth your effort, and will provide you and your company with the following benefits:


    When you allow others to take ownership of their roles and their part in fostering the vision of the organization, you have more capacity because you don’t feel the need to do the work yourself.


    Fostering executive leadership results in engaged and supported executives. When executives become better leaders, they lead better, which means more high performing teams. Higher performing teams equals better results and positive impact on business results.


    By developing your team around you in the right way, the entire organization will be aligned around a singular vision and give you the opportunity to drive your company to the next level. You’re not pulling the cart alone, or driving from behind. Instead you’re leading from the front and having others pull the cart with you.


    For leaders who are planning for succession, this exercise provides you with a strong, competent pool of internal candidates that you’ve developed to lead your organization into the future. This bench strength is also a way to level up your company as a whole and provide a more attractive offering to candidates and top talent coming from outside your organization. For companies seeking outside assistance developing world-class leadership teams, it also provides your recruitment partners, like our friends at HireBetter, with a strong template for finding those candidates that will fit best with your business values and organizational culture.

    Transcend gives you the power to achieve these objectives by uncovering your own executive leadership competencies, and recentering your mindset to become a leader that inspires. Our executive coaches also provide you with the tools and strategies to be able to create the same transformation in your top talent and build strong, autonomous teams.

    The result: An organization inspired by, not reliant on you.

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    Jaci Reed's profile picture.

    Jaci Reed

    Senior Executive Coach and Strategist

    Jaci holds master’s degrees in behavioral psychology and organizational development. She is a senior HR-certified professional (SHRM-SCP), certified Prosci change management practitioner, certified ATD consultant, and certified employee engagement specialist.

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