Mark Dipple column: Business leaders accomplish what needs to be done
What does a business leader look like, sound like and do?
There is no correct mold.
Great leaders come in all shapes, sizes, voices and styles. However, great leaders share a common outcome ó they oversee getting important things done.
While leadership is hard to define, you know it when you see it, feel it and hear it. An effective leader creates clarity about where the business is headed and how each team member can contribute to the cause. Such clarity helps reduce confusion and wasted actions and energy. Clarity also helps employees make better decisions within established boundaries.
A leader motivates and inspires individuals to work together as a team for a common cause or vision, pulling others along rather than pushing them around. Leadership is about communicating, not shouting commands. You cannot coerce people to follow for long since command-and-control leadership never earns the hearts, minds and will of others.
Real leadership is all about influence, the ability to make others want to follow you and your cause. Proof of leadership is found in the loyalty and commitment of followers. When you turn around, are your employees eagerly and energetically following you and your vision? If not, then the truth is you aren’t a leader.
In addition to creating clarity of purpose and direction for the organization, a leader also creates the right conditions and climate for her/his team to succeed. It’s simple; you cannot succeed on your own. You need energized and committed followers as much as they need an effective leader. It’s a partnership in pursuit of a common cause. You are nothing without engaged followers. It’s a symbiotic relationship ó a leader needs his/her followers to get important things done.
To help develop a solid foundation of knowledge, here are a few fundamental leadership practices. Ask yourself how many you practice.
A leader creates clarity of purpose and direction by:
– Knowing where the company is going and why.
– Developing and articulating a compelling vision for the business.
– Selling the benefits of this vision to employees with facts, emotions, stories, symbols, etc.
– Establishing direction, strategies and objectives for the company.
– Defining roles for and responsibilities of your employees.
– Establishing clear expectations for individuals.
– Developing processes to hold employees accountable for getting results.
– Encouraging individuals to work as a team; elevating the needs of the team over the needs of the individual.
– Setting standards, monitoring performance and giving feedback.
– Reminding everyone that the business exists to serve and satisfy customers as well as to earn a healthy profit
– Influencing the thoughts, feelings and behavior of employees.
A leader creates the right conditions for success by:
– Being a true leader (CEO), not another employee ó taking time to think, plan, see the big picture and solve problems.
– Allowing others to do their jobs, not micromanaging them.
– Allowing employees to share ideas and in the decision-making process n avoiding command-and-control leadership.
– Getting others to believe in themselves and the mission of the company.
– Getting the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus.
– Maintaining open and honest communication; being open to positive and negative feedback.
– Helping the company to face reality ó the good, the bad and the ugly.
– Accepting 100 percent responsibility for the results of the business.
– Driving out fear of mistakes; encouraging experimentation and innovation.
– Teaching and motivating others to reach their potential
– Maintaining a positive culture through interviewing, hiring, reviewing and rewarding the right type of employees.
– Ensuring the company is a fun place to work.
A company without a leader is like a sports team without a head coach or a game plan. Both result in players (employees) doing their own selfish thing, running around without a purpose, with no sense of accountability, making repeated mistakes, posting lackluster performance and most likely losing the game.
Your business doesn’t need more defensive linemen; it needs an in-charge head coach. Let your employees do the daily “blocking and tackling.” Create the game plan and let your employees play. Watch and coach from the sidelines, but don’t get in the trenches. You will lose vision of the whole field. Focus on creating clarity and conditions for success for your team.
Do these things and the next time someone asks who the true business leadership in Salisbury and the Rowan County area is, the answer will be you.
Contact Mark S. Dipple at m.dipple@thegrowthcoach. com.
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