Scaling leadership in a growing organization requires moving from hands-on management to strategic, systemic approaches that empower other leaders and team members. Key strategies include translating leadership vision into tangible actions, crafting a robust communication plan, and leveraging the influence of informal leaders.

    When leading a small organization or team, it can feel great (and maybe necessary) to have your finger on the pulse of everything happening around you… the clients, the sales, the team and their performance.

    This will work for a small team, but is not sustainable when you find yourself in a time of organizational growth. As a leader of a large team in a growing organization, you will need to scale your leadership by focusing on a solid operating infrastructure and processes that work… this means you will need to convince yourself that the level of engagement with everyone in the organization will continue to ‘happen’ without your direct involvement in every detail.

    Here are a couple of tips that can help:


    1| Translate your leadership vision to tactical, measurable behaviours

    If you want to scale your leadership, you’ll want to ensure that other leaders - as well as team members at every level - understand what success looks like in their role. We are talking about developing clarity; making sure that you are communicating not only what needs to be done (the strategic priorities) but also how we need to behave in our roles to make it work (behaviours that help us align and improve dynamic).

    'Gain clarity' is a key outcome of the activities we do in our leadership effectiveness work.

    For example, describing to other people leaders that something as simple as “hold regular one-on-one meetings,” can be open to a wide range of interpretations. What does “regular” mean? What happens in those one-on-ones? Define what you mean and clarify what should happen.


    2| Build a highly integrated communication plan.

    As a leader, you want to be a highly visible communicator… but it cannot stop there. As the organization scales there are more people, more departments, and more priorities competing for mindshare. We believe that enhancing the capacity of all leaders to ensure communication remains a core feature of the organization is extremely valuable.

    This may be a small shift: from attending team meetings of your directs and answering all the tough questions, to attending those meetings but being there primarily to support your direct reporting leader so that they can answer the tough questions. Ensuring that more leaders are equipped to amplify messages will support this shift in communication practices.

    Finally, beyond your direct report team, if you want to scale your leadership, actively seek out (and build relationships with) the informal opinion leaders and change agents on your team. Creating a critical mass of influencers across the organization can support your organization’s growth, with engaged and influential leaders all levels enabling change and continuous improvement to become self-sustaining.

    Your turn.

    What has helped you to scale your leadership and motivate your large team?


    About the Author

    Dean Fulford


    With more than 20 years of experience, Dean Fulford offers a deep expertise in leadership development, organizational development and design, project management, process mapping, and best-practice benchmarking activities to his client projects. With an extensive background in organization development and effectiveness, performance consulting and process improvement, Dean compliments his HR background with strong process management and competency-based project experience. He is a member of Stratford’s Leadership team, responsible for its Leadership Development practice area, bringing both product innovation and operational effectiveness to these services.