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The top five things keeping bosses awake at night

As if you’re not busy and stressed enough as a boss, you don’t want to have so much on your mind you can’t sleep properly when bedtime comes around. These tips could help you get the best night’s sleep you’ve had in years.

1. How to manage your talent

Those in the top job clap their hands in delight when they come across good talent. Great staff can make all the difference to the business’ output. However, it’s not all smooth sailing and managing talent is one of the hardest jobs for a manager – even when you’re blessed with great people. Every team member is individual, each motivated by something different. Knowing the drivers of your team members means you’re one step closer to making managing easier.

To manage talent well, start with reassuring your people. Believe it or not, they need it and will respond well. Find out about your staff and recognise and reward achievements. Include your team where possible and keep them informed with what’s happening at the top level. Hear their views and really listen. Be firm, but fair. Always give your team members clear expectations of what’s required of them.

Seek their input. People like nothing than to contribute to a business; seeing their ideas put into action; having a deeper connection to the business is essential. I would propose the term ‘managing people’ is better put as ‘leading and developing people’.

2. How to develop leaders

Great leaders are committed to improving themselves. Anyone claiming to be an expert has more to learn. The trick to being a great leader is to never stop learning. Whether or not you consider yourself a leader, the fact is everyone leads themselves or others in some way, at some point.

Don’t try to guess what development people need – ask them what they think they need. Encourage your leaders to devise their own leadership development plan. Help steer direction by explaining what could use improvement and development but let your leaders write their own. Once the plan is written, the job’s not over. Make sure you take an interest and oversee that their learning has been embedded in their work.

3. How to be productive, profitable and happy at the same time

Many say a happy team makes for happy bottom line and it’s true. An engaged employee is enthusiastic and fully involved in their work. This means they automatically are acting in the interests of the organisation. Get your team to define what happy and engaged means to them. You might be surprised at the result.

In addition productivity and profitability need to be a conscious part of any team’s day-to-day planning. Goals and outcomes need to be top of mind to make sure your actions work toward meeting them.

Also consider and factor in family and personal interests. An unbalanced life leads to unbalanced people and unbalanced business results.

4. How to align your talent with your business vision

In times of global financial volatility it’s crucial to have a clear business vision and strategy making sure human capital is mobilised. To be one step ahead, take the time to match your talent’s skill sets to the job at hand, this will set you up to make the right moves to achieve your business vision.

According to Bersin & Associates, although 92 percent of companies have some level of workforce planning, only 21 percent of companies take a strategic, long-term approach. In order to achieve a strategic, long term approach ask the following questions:

  • Where’s your business going? What’s the vision?
  • What’s happening in the labor market? Have we mapped this accordingly for our business?
  • What are the demands of your future talent and leaders in the industry?
  • What’s our current talent inventory and how is it expected to change?
  • What are the talent gaps and how can they be closed?
  • Are we implementing and monitoring our strategies to make sure we get the most from them?

5. Ride the storm and batten down the hatches

When markets are unsteady, resilience and adaptability is key. So, it’s time for review and reflection because every aspect of the business is under the microscope. To understand where the storm may hit hardest take a look at the following:

  • Understand the brutal facts – even when they’re ugly.
  • Cut back on unnecessary spending. Work out the businesses priorities e.g. if greater sales is a priority for the business then instead of cutting back sales training or development, cut back other areas. If upgrading your online presence is important to progressing and expanding client interaction then explore the most cost-effective ways of doing this. If innovation is key then focus on this area while looking at ways to reduce overheads. Be creative but don’t lose sight of your priorities.
  • Work out and be real about what is working both internally and externally, involve stakeholders where appropriate.
  • Take what isn’t working and either discard or critique.
  • Look at and explore successful trends both within your industry and outside it.
  • Explore ways to reverse trend, increase innovation and how your company can be more resilient and adaptable in an ever changing market. Collaborate with pertinent stakeholders in this process. Many hands make light work.
  • Be sure of the plan to get on top.
  • Activate the plan.
  • Be honest, open, truthful and clear in all your communications.

These five things don’t have to keep executives awake all night. By looking at them proactively in the light of day with a healthy mindset and using your team’s skills to help with the handywork, you can easily turn worrying factors into exciting new business opportunities. Use these tips to get on top of your worries and you just might find you’re more motivated than ever to make a real difference.

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Robyn Creed

Robyn Creed

Robyn is head of coaching at Barrett with specialised training in business, executive and sales coaching.

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