Leading By Example
In tough economic times how is it that some companies not only hold their own but actually grow, while others struggle or even go under?
Working with numerous corporate leaders and managers across a variety of business sectors in recent years, we have found that genuine leadership of company teams is the key to survival and growth.
True leaders come into their own when trading conditions are most challenging. Such leaders put their own ego aside to inspire cohesive teams that relish taking collective responsibility. Motivated by the right leader, energised teams will work together to achieve specific outcomes and react quickly to grow market share and add value no matter how tough the market might be.
Strong leader? Or management dictator?
The single biggest influence on a team’s performance is the attitude and behaviour of its leader.
Repeatedly we find leaders and managers who genuinely believe they are respected by their teams and are convinced that their leadership skills are either very good or even excellent. Yet their team members see them as demotivating and dictatorial.
This is because what we do (our behaviour) often does not match what we plan to do (our intentions). How we behave, even when we act in a way that we genuinely believe most accurately demonstrates our intentions, can all too easily be interpreted in the wrong way by others.
One client we worked with told us: “I have an open door policy. Anyone from the team can come and see me if there is an issue.” When asked how often team members came to talk to him he said “very rarely”. He believed the team looked up to him as an experienced and “strong” leader.
The team, in comparison, saw him as dictatorial when under pressure and team members felt undervalued. They believed he never really listened to them or appreciated their opinions.
Even when team members agreed that he could be inspirational, they felt this was only ‘short term’, that he showed only superficial interest in them and their opinions, and did not build genuine trust with any of them.
Perception versus reality – bridging the gap
When confronted by this gap between his own views of his leadership skills and how his team viewed him, the client was surprised and disappointed. His heart-felt aim was to be an open, supportive and inspirational leader and he could not understand how his behaviour could be so badly misinterpreted.
We were able to rebuild the relationship between team and leader, bringing great benefit to the client, his team members and the whole company.
The ABC of effective leadership
Every organisation develops its own ‘culture’ or ‘environment’. As a result mannerisms, language, communication styles, attitudes and behaviours are adopted subconsciously throughout that organisation. Within departments too, team members, without even thinking about it, adopt many of the team leader’s attitudes and behaviours.
Which is why the right leadership, and how it is delivered, is so influential and so instrumental in driving performance.
So what are the attitudes and behaviours demonstrated by successful leaders? How do successful leaders build high-achieving teams of dedicated, inspired and motivated individuals?
- Attitudes are contagious: Leaders must ensure their attitudes are worth catching. Our attitudes affect the way we feel, our behaviour and ultimately the results we deliver. A valuable exercise is to look at leaders who are genuinely positive and constructive and see what they do, how they behave and what makes them stand out.
- Set clear objectives: Successful leaders give their team a clear vision with no ambiguity. They will communicate clear strategic objectives including: what they want, when they want it, who is critical to success, the specific roles individual team members will play in the process and details of how that success will be achieved. This clarity inspires confidence.
- The Team: A real, unified team working together and for one another will always outperform a group of individuals, no matter how talented, pulling in different directions. Great leaders drive and exploit that advantage.
The Five D’s of great leadership
Outstanding leaders choose a team which then sets specific objectives and aims for targeted outcomes. Within a successful team, members monitor and measure their own progress, take responsibility and are accountable for results which they define and own. They know that together they make a difference, work towards success collectively and support each other along the way. Motivating a team to be successful requires five key qualities in a leader:
- Determined – be focused and single-minded
- Disciplined – peer discipline and self-discipline create value-driven organisations far more effectively than top-down control
- Dedicated – enthusiasm and commitment can drive a business through hard times
- Dynamic – having new ideas and the courage to put those ideas into practice will set you apart from rivals who focus on problems not solutions
- Driven – propel, motivate and lead, to inspire people to achieve more than they thought they could
Excellent leaders channel their needs, ambitions and ego into the wider goal of building a great company, department or section and for their area of responsibility to excel. By employing the “right” people excellent leaders build a high performing team whose success generates greater motivation which in turn breeds more success.
Positive Change Partners work with organisations to embed the positive behaviours that impact the bottom line through training workshops, coaching, strategic planning and consultancy. We are based in Surrey, England and have a prestigious client base in London and throughout the UK and Europe. We also work internationally with global organisations.
If you would like to speak with us please call 01342 837660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org