Earlier this week, our operations director, Steve Lees looked at some of the qualities which make a good leader. Today, Steve looks at the ways in which senior management can demonstrate leadership through their own actions.
Ultimately, it’s the people around you who have the metaphoric ‘deciding vote’ when it comes to determining your own success as a leader. The key is to get the very best out of each person within your team – no matter the size or varying level of experience.
So, how do you get the best out of your existing team, and when you need to recruit, what’s the best way to attract the right applicants? Once you have that nailed – how do you encourage them to stay?
Autonomy, mastery and purpose
This is an approach taken from Dan Pink’s book, ‘Driven’. If implemented properly, these three elements will make a considerable difference to any business – including the way people feel about working there, the effort they will put into their role, and the overall success of the company.
When it comes to autonomy, self-direction is a natural inclination. If you find the right people, empower them to deliver the best service – in their own way. Mastery meanwhile, is offering personal development opportunities which show your commitment to further bolstering the talents within your team.
Finally, those who find true purpose in their work unlock the highest levels of motivation. A sense of belonging to something is a vital part of what we all stand for. Creating an environment which makes employees feel worthwhile and valuable will enable everyone to fully commit to the business goals.
It sounds simple, but always make sure you recruit people who share your purpose, values and culture. They may be the brightest and best on paper, but if they don’t fit into the wider team, the relationship will be doomed from the start.
Finding the right new person for your organisation is often one of the hardest decisions managers have to make. But, rather than trawling through CV’s line-by-line, look for someone who shows the character traits you need.
‘Personality over experience’ is a strategy that can pay huge dividends. Instead of asking ‘what knowledge does my next hire need?’ look instead at ‘how does this person need to act in order to add value to my business, and are their values aligned to ours?’
You could recruit the technically best person in the world, but if they do not fit how you want things to be done, they will very quickly end up being a disrupter in your brand, through no fault of their own.
Performance management and reward
You really need to get this right, but it really isn’t done by creating a rigid review process and the ever-eventful annual reflection and performance rating.
Establish shared goals and aspirations with your team, but also understand everyone’s unique purpose and aspirations, and think how best you might support their long-term ambition.
At DealTrak we have got rid of SMART objectives, annual reviews and performance ratings. Instead, we have regular ‘coffee conversations’ which allow us to check-in with each other, and discuss ideas, successes and ongoing learning.
By understanding that every employee is unique – and that while someone might aim to be a departmental head, others may be happy staying where they are for the time being – you’ll be able to focus your efforts on ensuring they remain happy and motivated within their role.
It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that ultimately, it is the people within your business who will make it successful. Real leadership is creating a culture that harnesses all their raw talent and passion.
As Richard Branson once said: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”