Step away from the clichés. Stop trying to absorb the newest leadership fads. You’ll never blend these ideas into a strategy that will, somehow or other, power your business forward.
The reality is the best leaders only do three things:
• Set the context
• Manage the energy
• Coach, don’t play
Set the context
Build a sustainable culture. This is really important right now. Those that keep the focus on their organisation’s sense of purpose and direction are successful. It’s about creating a common purpose that deepens trust throughout the business.
Once everyone starts to share the same values and aspirations they begin to move and work in the same direction. The foundation is dependent on the choices a leader has made, is making now and will make in the future. Plus the behaviours that result from these decisions.
Good leaders build trust and create a circle of security. They promote sharing and collaboration. They have both backbone and heart. These traits encourage conditions where good behaviours increase, creating self-sustaining growth.
Manage the energy
If leaders can’t manage their own energy, how can they manage their team’s energy?
This is about communication and connection. Most people can communicate with others at an individual level, not everyone can connect with a group. Good leaders do both.
They are also consistently honest in their business communications. Does your organisation talk about what’s not happening, but should? When life is uncertain, does your organisation communicate regularly? And are your communications taken seriously?
Strong leaders will focus more on communication during periods of uncertainty. They’ll explain ‘why’ when essential change is needed. They’ll involve their people in the decision-making process. They talk about what is, and ought to be, happening.
The language used to communicate is critical. Too often a blame culture exists within businesses. From senior management down, this toxic culture sows the seeds of destruction. Change starts at the top. Examine the language used and change it if necessary.
When there is mutual respect and loyalty colleagues can connect. This builds their trust in you and vice versa. For true leaders, this is not about power and control but about adding value to the work of others and helping them grow in every aspect of their lives.
Connection is vital for internal and external communication. Be aware that the firm’s values are what the customers buy into. When times are tough continue to maintain, communicate and promote them consistently and clearly.
Coach, don’t play
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life”.
Good leaders coach by giving their time and energy. With trust, confidence, communication and connection in place, managers and other leaders will follow your lead, giving their teams their time and energy. These good behaviours will feed through the organisation, proliferate and become self-sustaining.
So, what are you focused on? Decide that, then go and make things happen.
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