This week I’ve been reflecting on leadership and what it means to be able to manage and direct others. As business owners we’re usually very capable people, but just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. You can build a product on your own but building a business requires us to ask for help, work with others and ultimately lead. So what kind of leader are you? How do you inspire and motivate the people around you and how do you get the best from them? You want a productive team around you to serve your clients and support you, but how do you make that happen?
“A boss has the title. A leader has the people.” Simon Sinek
What kind of leader are you?
If you feel that people in your business are pulling in different directions, if you regularly change your mind about what the focus should be and if you struggle to keep good people, then leadership may be an issue for you. When priorities are unclear, and firefighting becomes the norm, then people get confused, momentum fades and conflict increases. Lots of activity but little team spirit. It’s important to decide what kind of leader you want to be and how you want to show up in your business. Leadership is the ability to influence and guide other people, it’s not about being the most senior in the room. Successful and ambitious companies focus on encouraging leadership throughout their business.
One of my favourite stories about leadership is from the time of the moon landings. The US president of the day, John F Kennedy, was visiting NASA when he spotted a man mopping the floor. Legend has it that he walked up to him, shook his hand and asked him what his job was. The man looked at him and said, ‘I help put man on moon.’ Can you imagine if your team, all of your team, were that engaged with the mission of your company?
Leadership starts with having a clear and compelling vision that you share with your team and the people around you. You need to build towards that vision with a well-thought-out plan while staying true to your values and the values of the business.
Here are my Top 10 Tips on how to be an effective leader:-
🌟 Lead by example. Modelling what good looks like is crucial. Your people are watching what you do much more than they’re listening to what you say. Be the type of person you’d want to hire.
🌟 Self awareness. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses is crucial. It allows you to give and receive feedback and communicate effectively and with empathy.
🌟 Be accountable. As the leader the buck stops with you. When things are going well, give out praise. During challenging times, focus on finding solutions instead of spreading blame.
🌟 Make decisions. Working for a procrastinator is demotivating. Gather the information you need to make timely decisions. Remember that there may not always be a ‘right’ answer but your job is to decide anyway.
🌟 Manage risk. You may not have the in depth knowledge your people do or their technical proficiency but managing and mitigating the risks the business faces is far more important.
🌟 Be positive. A positive environment encourages engagement and productivity. Be enthusiastic and confident. Protect your team from things that will demotivate or distract them.
🌟 Communicate. People need to understand so your team will always be hungry for information. Communicate more than you think you need to. Your job is to provide clarity rather than keeping people happy.
🌟 Be fair. It’s important to understand what makes your people tick. What works for one will not work for everyone. But it’s vital that you not only are fair but that you’re seen to be fair. Don’t play favourites.
🌟 Empower. Set clear expectations in terms of the outcome you want, but empower your people to reach their goal in their own way. Make sure you’re clear about what to do if they get stuck and then get out of their way.
🌟 Serve. Being a good leader is about serving your team. Ask for regular feedback and be flexible. Focus on removing the blockers you see in your business so that your team can flourish.
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – July 2021