Does it have to be lonely at the top?

There is a wonderful scene in 'The Godfather' where Robert Duval, who plays Tom Hagen, the consigliere to Godfather Marlon Brando, smiles at his colleagues as if to say, "don't worry, I have his back". In other words, 'I am looking after him. I will make sure he is supported.'

Now, you may think that the Godfather film is not a great example for modern-day business leaders; those who read blogs and articles on LinkedIn. Is it too violent? Is it too difficult a subject matter? Or does that award-winning film from way back in 1972 show us that all those who lead need someone to confide in, bounce ideas and thoughts off and question their motives and purpose? I am convinced that no-one reading this is like Don Corleone (at least I hope not!). However, many of us lead companies where the buck stops with us. It is our business. If the buck stops with you, who supports you to help the buck to stop? Are you feeling that sometimes life is tough at the top?

If you are there is good news. That feeling you are feeling is the right feeling! It is tough at the top and it should be. It is your ambition, your desire, your feelings, your heart and soul which is invested in the people, the plans and the relationships to make your business work. Most days are fantastic. Some are tougher than others and then some, well, some can be very tough indeed.

We believe that all leaders deserve support. We believe you deserve your own Consigliere. A consigliere is a counsellor, an advisor, an assistant or mentor who 'has your back'. Someone who provides intelligent support and guidance that, whatever the size of the company you are responsible for, you need and can benefit from.

So, in the opinion of our Melius team, what makes a good Consigliere?

  • They have great listening skills. Good support advisors will recognise that listening is more important than talking. Recruiters love to talk, don't we. We make a living out of it. There are plenty of recruiters who can't wait to give you the benefit of their advice. Yet, as a business leader, you need to be listened to and understood. Any support you have should recognise that this is about you and not them. They will listen to your every word and emotion to help you to realise your potential in all aspects of running the business.
  • They will have excellent communication skills. A good consigliere will be able to understand what you are saying and thinking and be able to apply that in today's ever-changing and demanding environment. They will be able to consider a number of different ways to move forward. They will be able to review a number of different issues from a number of different perspectives, capture them and distill them into a simple, easy to understand next steps guide. They will also challenge you as a client and hold you to account.

  • They will be able to offer expertise in running a business. A strong advisor/consiglieri will probably have run his or her own business. They will know what it is like to have cash issues; to have the bank breathing down your neck; to have experienced the tension between investment and current financial needs. They will be able to offer practical, private advice that is pertinent to your business and yours alone. The advice offered should not come from picking up a business book from WH Smith while waiting for a delayed train.

  • They will act as you would expect, in a professional manner. A consigliere is, at all times, confidential. They have your back. They do not share other clients details. Their devotion is to make sure that you are okay and your business is evolving. They support you and make you feel that you are the most important person in the world. They will have good emotional intelligence and, in my opinion, are nice people to have around your business. Recruiters don't often use the 'nice' because it is considered a little weak. However, it is good to have nice people in and around your business. Especially if the person is your advisor.

As you continue to scale your business you may feel like a chat about what an advisor could do for your business. Either me or one of my business partners would be delighted to talk to you or connect you to one of our associates. I promise I will never make you an offer you can't refuse. Melius was created to help you to cut through the noise of running your business. To enable you to see the big picture as you scale your business and continue your journey of being a first-class business leader.