How Top CEOs Rely on Their Teams to Achieve Success


As a business leader, are you living in a ‘constant state of fight or flight?’ Scott Eblin uses this phrase to describe leaders who are struggling with their c‑suite role. In fact, Eblin states that 40% of leaders fail to succeed in these roles. It’s not surprising that leaders feel so much turmoil in today’s economy. The good news is you can take action to improve your situation.

Letting Go

Eblin also notes that expectations of leadership performance are “very rarely explicitly stated.” While that may be a condemnation of very senior leadership, one can argue against explicitly stating performance expectations. After all, CEOs  promote individuals who will help them lead. They believe these individuals are seasoned enough to apply their unique strengths to the challenges ahead and set a proper course.

That being said, all leaders can use a little help. Eblin tackles this topic in his forthcoming book, The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success. Like any new leader, you may find it hard to let go of practices and behaviors you've relied on for years. Eblin identifies these behaviors and explains the kind of changes you should make in order to succeed in your new role.

Changing Your Team's Goals

One recommended behavioral change I found intriguing centers on the team. Until now, you may have excelled because you did a great job with your team. You and your team always finished projects on time and on budget. During this process, you may also have been the person who managed all of the project and personnel details.

In your new role, you’ll need to change that. You can start by setting different goals for your team members. Let them  know you expect them to manage more of the details. As Eblin says, you need to shift from “telling team members how to do things” to “defining what needs to be done.” When you remove yourself from the day-​to-​day minutiae, you empower your team members. They’ll enjoy controlling their own work processes and will become more loyal to you and the organization.

You’ll have a better chance to succeed in a senior leadership role when you step away from the details. Give yourself the time and space you need to think strategically about the organization and what you can do to make a positive impact.