Successful leaders possess distinct competencies that separate them from those who are happy to do their jobs and go home. Even among leaders, enterprise leaders are still hard to find.
In the business ecosystem, there’s a constant give and take. Depending on a leader’s approach, they may unintentionally look out for their or their department’s interests first.
Employers who are savvy enough to see the signs of an enterprise leader have better chances of hiring and benefiting from their many positive attributes.
In today’s article, we’ll explore what it means to be an enterprise leader, how it differs from traditional leadership, and how leaders can become enterprise leaders. We’ll also offer tips on attracting enterprise leaders to your organization.
What Is Enterprise Leadership (and an “Enterprise Mindset”)?
Enterprise leadership isn’t being a leader in a large corporation as the term seems to suggest. In fact, you’ll find enterprise leaders in companies of all sizes.
A leader has an enterprise mindset when they put the good of the company over the good of themselves (or the parts of the business they find valuable). Enterprise leaders lean toward initiatives that benefit the whole organization — even if it means they have to stop, cut, or hold off on one of their personal business goals.
Enterprise Leadership vs. Traditional Leadership
At first glance, these two types of leadership styles seem similar.
One of the main reasons some leaders rise in the ranks is because they showcase their hard and soft skill sets and highlight the value they bring to the table.
Enterprise and traditional leaders differ in both problem-solving and strategic planning. The traditional leader keeps their role and department in mind with every decision — and probably reacts to pushback by hedging, bargaining, and protecting. The enterprise leader acts for the overall good of the company. Promoting, hiring, or topgrading talent improves when these differences are well understood.
Enterprise Leadership vs. Enterprise Management
Enterprise management is the culmination of enterprise leadership.
Enterprise leaders believe the organization must be the focus in all decisions and plans, so enterprise management is the act of making those decisions.
Enterprise management is what enterprise leaders do: improve talent acquisition or business development, project management, etc. —whatever meets the enterprise's current needs.
Being successful in enterprise management is challenging because there are constant obstacles demanding resources and attention. Enterprise leaders can’t let themselves get distracted by smaller business units that don’t aid the company’s sustainability.
Why Leadership Is So Important to Enterprise Success: 3 Key Benefits
Enterprise leadership presents itself as a selfless approach. Like any situation where humans must seemingly act against their best interests, it isn’t easy to practice consistently.
Companies have enormous advantages if they have enterprise leaders on their teams. Their thought leadership and decision-making efforts can offer a far-reaching, positive impact on the company.
Here are three of the most impactful benefits enterprise leaders provide organizations.
1. Better Customer Engagement and Customer Satisfaction
Leaders who focus on what’s good for the company know that happy customers are always a win. Even if they aren’t in business development or client support, enterprise leaders undoubtedly recognize the need for campaigns to connect with and attract more buyers.
From implementing social media advertising to investing in client support training, enterprise leaders will inherently understand that satisfying customers and exceeding their expectations is one of the most valuable ways to keep the company strong and relevant.
2. Greater Team Productivity and Efficiency
It’s a leader’s job to view all options. An enterprise leader knows companies flourish when teams and processes are efficient and productive.
Even if it’s not their department, enterprise leaders will get behind other leaders’ ideas to get more done with the same effort. Whether it’s a technological investment, automating tasks, or streamlining processes, enterprise leaders will back objectives that solidify the company’s foundation.
3. More Unified Organization
"Everyone for themselves" may seem like a cutthroat but effective approach to doing business, but it’s not. Leaders with an enterprise mindset are guided by the overall company’s health — rather than their individual departments — which creates a winning situation for all stakeholders.
When egos are out of business, it’s easier to accomplish the most important goals. These leaders typically get behind company initiatives with full commitment and do their best to bring them to fruition.
How Executives Become Enterprise Leaders
How many times have you vowed to develop healthier eating habits, or committed to exercising every morning? Did you follow through, or was it more difficult than you thought?
The same issue is why there aren’t more enterprise leaders and why becoming one is harder than it would seem. It may seem logical that those in upper management (i.e., executives) should be poised to be enterprise leaders. However, the transition isn't as simple as flipping a switch. Understanding what an enterprise leader entails is the first step toward becoming one; from there, setting goals and incentives adds motivation.
Here are six ways an executive can evolve into an enterprise leader.
1. Understand the Bigger Picture
If leaders hyper-fixate on one area of the business, they lose sight of how it fits into the grand scheme of things. Break out of your silo and retire your myopic vision if you’re determined to be an enterprise-level leader. Pour over and digest the company’s short- and long-range goals. Learn about other departments and their ongoing and new objectives. What seems to work company-wide, and what needs to improve?
Only when leaders understand the company and how all the moving parts work together for its success can they move forward with an enterprise vision.
2. Practice Proactive Communication
Communication skills should top every leader's skill list, and it goes beyond speaking to people. In fact, communication includes a range of subtler sub-skills like active listening, being empathetic, giving and receiving feedback, and practicing open body language — and good enterprise leaders should do their best to incorporate all of them.
Building relationships across departments is pivotal to seeing the company from a high level. Speak with other leaders and ask questions about their plans and needs. This helps build a rapport with them so that you can better understand their motives and goals.
Communicate during meetings, too. Ask questions and get opinions. Be as clear and transparent with your own contributions as possible. Remember that understanding and learning are influential factors in enterprise leadership success.
3. Focus on Performance and Transformation
It’s easy to start out excited and motivated to become an enterprise leader. Over time, stress, obstacles, conflict, budget restrictions, and other problems can whittle away your resolve.
Stay strong! Review plans and strategies as you go to ensure self-serving, opportunistic actions that aren’t best for the company as a whole don’t creep in. By keeping your eye on the direction and vision the company wants to go, you’ll be better able to influence real organization-wide success.
4. Assume Positive Intent
Sometimes, negativity can seep into the workplace and significantly impact morale. A co-worker’s bad attitude or a fellow manager’s obsession with climbing the ladder may erode your determination to be an enterprise leader. Still, it's important to wield positivity to keep yourself on the right track. Give others the benefit of the doubt by assuming they’re also acting in the company’s best interest.
If it seems they aren’t keeping the overall company’s health in mind, have a judgment-free conversation with them — it could be that their perspective is simply different from yours.
Staying positive keeps enterprise leaders above the fray that inevitably happens in the workplace and provides a perspective that assuming negativity can't offer.
5. Cultivate Leadership Development
Leaders who are passionate about the company’s success know succession planning is crucial. Cultivating star team members to lead the organization in the future is necessary to protect and sustain the company’s competitive edge.
Enterprise leaders consistently help others develop leadership qualities in others. The first step is to notice a team member's extra effort, passion, and commitment to the business. Mentoring, lobbying for enrichment training, and helping them secure merit-based promotions is another. Enterprise leaders know it shouldn’t be lonely at the top. Instead of being intimidated by others’ success, they cheer it on and contribute to it.
6. Build and Nurture Connections
As we mentioned above, enterprise leaders want the top to be full of other like-minded people. Every connection is a chance to learn more about a facet of the company and grow its success.
People skills are valuable assets to use in forming relationships. However, even introverted leaders can find common ground with other staff and use it to strengthen bonds.
Connecting by doing is another way to secure connections. Help out on a project, create an opportunity for someone, or share some of your ideas with them. If they see you make the first move, they’ll be more likely to trust you and open up.
How To Attract Enterprise Leaders
We know how much companies benefit from employing enterprise leaders. The big question is, how can human resources and the hiring team attract and land them? Here are some points to consider when recruiting enterprise leaders.
Understand What the Candidates Look For
Knowing what to offer these candidates is an essential part of your talent acquisition strategy. Not just any company can attract these exceptional leaders. A few of the traits they want to see in their company are:
- Clear vision and company mission
- Long-range viability
- Strong, positive company culture
- Path for scalability and potential for company growth
- Emphasis on ongoing learning, even for leaders
- Opportunity to contribute (not just a “yes” person)
Use Strategic Recruitment Techniques
Smart businesses know that some of the best candidates are passive candidates. Passive candidates are people who are currently employed elsewhere or are not actively looking for a job. When you recruit strategically, you increase your chances of finding excellent enterprise leaders by tapping into this group of candidates.
But what's the best way to find them? A professional staffing firm specializing in high-level talent would be one way. Meeting them at educational functions, networking events, and other professional enrichment programs is also possible. You may even connect with them on social media, as many are active thought leaders in their fields.
Evaluate Candidates Carefully
Hiring an enterprise leader is tricky. Don’t bog them down in the minutia, or they won’t connect with the role. Instead, talk about the company’s vision, future, and ability to grow. Ask candidates about big-picture scenarios to get a feel of their ability to think strategically and focus on the big picture.
Find the Best Enterprise Leaders With Hunt Club
Understanding the enterprise leadership mindset and how it benefits an organization is the way to pinpoint and cultivate these leaders. Keeping a company thriving through highs and lows takes more than short-term, narrowly focused thinking. Enterprise leaders create alignment, enrich other leaders, and always act in the organization’s best interests.
Hunt Club knows how to identify and engage with enterprise leaders. We combine our proprietary technology with our expert experience to deliver pre-vetted talent to your door — partner with us to fill your next leadership role!