business leader walking up a flight of stairs

Are you a good leader?

The power of having a highly skilled and engaged workforce cannot be understated. Culture does not grow overnight. However every touch point and interaction (positive and negative) your employees have feeds into your culture and can reshape it over time. Think about some great companies that became good and in time will cease to exist. Leaders make or break culture and directly and indirectly impact business growth and sustainability.

There have been many great authors of Leadership over the decade, all with differing views; Drucker, Semler, Senge, Goldman, Kellerman, Collins… the list goes on. All these authors have told us that great leadership equates to business performance. If you are or have great leaders in your organisation you will be able to:

  • Grow the commitment of your people and shareholders
  • Attract & retain the ‘right’ people with the ‘right’ skills sets
  • Maximise their contribution via engagement in the achievement of the organisational objectives.  They are not just cutting stones, they are building the cathedral (Drucker).
  • Focus on your brand to become an ‘employer of choice’.  Most employees are ‘consumers’ so I am sure you don’t want your organisation rejected like John West’s ‘pink salmon’!

Over the past 12 months I have had the privilege to be in a number of audiences where I have heard first hand what 3 out of our 4 Major Bank CEOs think is important about Leadership. So what did they say?

I can summarise their views in 5 main points:

  1. Authenticity – be yourself
  2. Ability to work with Ambiguity and still be Resilient
  3. Have a Spirit of Generosity
  4. Build the right Culture
  5. Be a Positive Thinker no matter what is happening around you.

Jim Collins’ book ‘Good to Great’ talks about the importance of having the right people on the bus. Remember this applies to all levels of your organisations in terms of their attitude and skill set. You need to have people who can live the organisational values.

Barbara Kellerman in one of her HBR Blogs talked about Leadership malpractice and how it should be applicable to people in positions of authority. A good read, so here is the link if you have not had the chance to do so: http://blogs.hbr.org/kellerman/2008/11/leadership_malpractice.html

Leaders need to be held accountable for poor performance. The scary thing is it is easy to be a ‘bad leader’ and not even realise it – shocking but true. How many people have managers that have no idea what they do, don’t share information, don’t coach or contribute so your team can be the best at what they do. They are basically ghosts and if they weren’t on the organisational chart you might not realise they exist.

This is a call for action for leaders to get into the game of leading. So what do you need to do to be a better leader? To help you here are some areas that you could start to focus on:

  • Be authentic – be yourself
  • Raise the bar and strive for excellence
  • Have a vision for your team, share it, all live it and be in the game together
  • Establish ‘quick wins’ and longer term KPIs
  • Drive your agenda and stop being a passenger
  • Stay focused, centred and balanced – be resilient!
  • Get fit and healthy – be in it for the long haul
  • Develop a personal support system outside the organisation
  • Celebrate wins.

So what are you going to start to do differently so you are a better leader?

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