”Exceptional leaders developing exceptional employees,
offering quality products, will yield exceptional performance!”
On three recent trips to Venice, Budapest and Assisi we had private tour guides. Each city is renowned for certain aspects of life within the city and each is stunning in its own right. The guides proved invaluable in guiding us through the hearts of each of these special places.
While I was impressed with their knowledge and skill, and thoroughly enjoyed learning from them, I was equally impressed with their ability to lead and I saw qualities in each that reminded me of basic leadership requirements necessary to achieve corporate success.
In each case they clearly told us what to expect and what we would be seeing. They followed it by letting us know our responsibilities while under their tutelage. Finally they quickly assessed our ability, skill and desires and modified their plans based on these perceptions.
In every case, their goals were to:
· Make sure we finished our sightseeing (tasks) having gained the knowledge they wanted to impart.
· Verify we had learned from them.
· Confirm we left better for having been with them and glad to have had their guidance.
Exactly what great leaders do!
While management is important, primarily for assigning tasks and holding people accountable, leadership is even more critical to success because leadership is the foundation that allows managers to successfully manage!
Leadership has 3 clear components:
1. Clearly define the path/vision.
2. Clearly define expectations and responsibilities.
3. Assure employees are equipped for success.
Clearly defining the path/vision
It is an unfortunate statistic that more than 70% of the time, organizational leadership is a major cause of their employees’ unproductive behavior.
Far too often, the essence of leadership is overlooked in favor of management dictates and criticism.
Leadership involves effective communication of the vision and direction the leader sees for the firm including:
· The leader’s vison for the future.
· The path he has chosen to accomplish the vision/goals of the firm.
Devoting the effort necessary to know that the vision has been received and adopted is a critical step in developing exceptional employees. For the firm’s workers (like much of life itself) fear, doubt and uncertainty comes naturally from:
· Not fully understanding the path.
· Not grasping the vision
· Not comprehending the metrics used to measure progress and determine course corrections.
· Not assimilating the process that will be used for the employee to enact corrections
· Not perceiving the degree of personal latitude each employee can exercise in helping achieve the vision.
Defining Expectations and Responsibilities
It’s equally as important to devote significant organizational and personal time with direct reports to ensure employees understand what their roles and responsibilities are; exactly how they will be measured and compensated and what latitudes/freedom of individual expression they will be allowed/expected to demonstrate in making decisions.
Finally, they need to understand what communication will be expected from them, at what frequency and for what reasons.
Equipping them for Success
Equipping them for success, while it embraces each of the above concepts, also requires significant engagement and collaboration. The days of hiring a salesperson, for example, and saying, “you did it for the other guys, that’s why we hired you, now go do it for us,” are long over. It didn’t work well anyway. Each employee has strengths and weaknesses. Each employee needs guidance and freedom to seek help. Understanding expectations is critical to a firm’s success.
There are several key methodologies for achieving timely, effective collaboration, including:
· Recognizing, believing and expressing that the employee has worth;
· Communicating that each employee contributes intelligence, skill, and capabilities critical to the firm’s success.
They are the resources necessary to achieve and maintain the top position in your industry. It is the firm’s workforce that ultimately defines its success.
Only through effective collaboration and communication can a workforce move forward with commitment and passion.
To do this it also requires effective time management skills and processes. Leaders must focus on priorities, and resist yielding to the tyranny of the urgent.
FocusedOnRevenue is uniquely equipped to help our clients effectively deal with the process transitions necessary for successful leadership.