Effective Leadership Strategies from a CEO Coach

Leading a team that isn’t meeting expectations can be one of the most challenging situations for any manager. It tests your leadership, resilience, and ability to drive change. Navigating the challenges of leading an underperforming team requires a blend of strategic foresight, empathetic leadership, and actionable planning. As a seasoned CEO coach, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of implementing targeted strategies to drive organizational success. 

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share actionable insights, drawn from real-life examples and industry best practices, to help senior executives and CEOs navigate the complexities of leadership. With over two decades of experience in entrepreneurship and coaching, I am here to share a straightforward, actionable strategy to transform  your underperforming team into a high-performing unit.

Understand the Root Causes

1. Assess the Situation Thoroughly:

Before proposing solutions, take time to understand the underlying issues. Are there communication breakdowns, skill gaps, unclear roles, or a lack of resources? Sometimes, the problem might be due to external factors like changing market conditions that are out of the team’s control.

2. Open Lines of Communication:

Create a safe space for honest and open dialogue. Encourage team members to share their perspectives on what’s working and what’s not. This can reveal insights into the team’s personal and collective challenges.

Strategize and Plan

1. Set Clear, Achievable Goals:

Once you understand the problems, redefine the team’s goals. Ensure these align with the overall business strategy and are understood by everyone. Utilizing the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) criteria can effectively help set these new targets.

2. Provide Necessary Resources and Training:

If skill gaps are an issue, arrange the necessary training and development sessions. Investing in your team’s growth boosts their performance, morale, and loyalty to the company.

Implement Changes and Monitor Progress

1. Implement a Feedback Loop:

Regular feedback is crucial. It helps keep everyone on track and allows you to make real-time adjustments. Schedule regular check-ins and use them to recognize efforts, discuss progress, and address new challenges.

2. Foster a Culture of Accountability:

Encourage a sense of ownership among team members. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities and setting up a system where team members can hold each other accountable in a supportive way can foster accountability.


Lead with Empathy and Support

1. Lead by Example:

Your team looks to you for cues on how to behave, especially in times of crisis. Demonstrate the values you want to instill: resilience, transparency, and proactive problem-solving.

2. Encourage Team Cohesion:

Promote team-building activities that can help strengthen relationships and improve communication among team members. A cohesive team is more likely to work effectively and support each other’s development.

Evaluate and Adjust

1. Regularly Review Team Performance:

What gets measured gets managed. Review your team’s performance against the set goals regularly. This will help you track progress and identify areas that need further improvement or adjustment.

2. Be Prepared to Make Tough Decisions:

If specific strategies or team configurations aren’t working, be prepared to make tough decisions. This might include changing team dynamics, reallocating resources, or, in some cases, personnel changes.

Additional measures to help your team back on:

1. Never Underestimate The Impact of Leadership Style on Employee Happiness

McKinsey’s research reveals that a staggering 86% of employee happiness is directly linked to their interactions with management. This highlights the critical role leadership style plays in shaping workplace culture and employee satisfaction.

As a CEO coach, I emphasize the significance of fostering strong interpersonal relationships with employees. By prioritizing communication, empathy, and trust, leaders can create a positive work environment conducive to high performance and employee well-being.

2. Navigating Tough Performance Conversations Can Be the Key

Addressing performance issues can be daunting for leaders, but adopting a coaching approach can yield positive results. By setting clear goals, providing constructive feedback, and nurturing individual growth, leaders can foster a culture of continuous improvement and accountability.

When engaging in performance conversations, I advise leaders to approach them with empathy and a focus on development rather than criticism. By fostering open dialogue and offering support, leaders can empower their teams to overcome challenges and achieve their full potential.

3. Leveraging Coaching for Enhanced Leadership

Top leaders recognize the value of coaching in enhancing their performance and leadership effectiveness. Studies indicate that investing in coaching can lead to significant improvements in decision-making, communication, and team dynamics.

As a CEO coach, I work with leaders to refine their leadership skills and overcome obstacles. By providing personalized support, guidance, and feedback, I help leaders navigate complex challenges and achieve their professional goals.

4. Leading Through Crisis with Confidence

Effective leadership is particularly crucial during times of crisis. Leaders must remain grounded, communicate transparently, and inspire confidence in their teams to navigate uncertainty successfully.

During crises, I encourage leaders to maintain a clear vision, empower their teams, and demonstrate resilience. By staying focused on strategic priorities and fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, leaders can guide their organizations through challenges and emerge stronger than before.


Turning around an underperforming team is no small feat. It requires a balanced strategic planning approach, empathetic leadership, and continuous adaptation. By understanding the root causes, setting clear goals, providing support, and fostering a culture of accountability, you can guide your team towards improved performance and success. Remember, transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It is a continuous process that requires patience, commitment, and a focus on long-term development.

By implementing these steps, you will improve your team’s performance and develop your leadership skills. Embrace the challenge as an opportunity to make a significant impact on your organization and prove your mettle as a leader capable of turning adversities into opportunities.

Scroll to Top