22 Nov

When do leaders show their true colours?

Dr John Kotter said the following, “Always think of crises as potential opportunities, and not only dreadful problems that automatically must be delegated to the damage control specialist. A crisis can be your friend.” 

What does this have to do with leadership? Everything!

Anyone can be a great leader when times are good, when everyone is behaving and doing their jobs, where money is been made and business targets are been reached. What happens when things aren’t going well? What is the leadership style like in your business during times of strive and crisis?

This is where the leaders true colours come out.

Think about a recent situation where you have faced adversity in your business, where the paw-paw has hit the fan. How did you manage your behaviour?  If you approached the situation like a total hero and swooped in and saved the day, then kudos to you! If you didn’t, then think about implementing the following strategies the next time you are hit with a curve ball.

  1. Stop. Think, breath, gather information and then react. Instantly responding to a situation can make things worse. Get into the habit of stepping back and gathering information before reacting. Giving yourself a small window of time to process the situation from all angles, allows for a more objective reaction.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  – Viktor E. Frankl

2. Be a curious leader, not a blame-shifting leading. Curiosity is objective. It shows your team that you are genuinely interested in discovering the reasons for the undesired outcomes. This automatically puts people at ease and they too start thinking objectively. It becomes a fact-finding discovery and solution focused session, not a witch hunt.

“Blame is just a lazy person’s way of making sense of chaos.” – Douglas Coupland

3. Always think about what’s best for the business. The solution is not about what’s best for  you, but what’s best for the company as a whole.

“Leadership is not about the next election, it’s about the next generation.”  – Simon Sinek

4. Don’t delegate from the sidelines, be part of the solution. Involve your team to build a solution and then take action with them.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell 

5. As a leader you should be thinking about the future and how to make the business vision a reality, but you should also be in the rhythm of constantly reviewing and checking what’s happened in the past and what the reality of your current situation is. This allows you and your team to be agile and ready to implement change at the earliest possible opportunity.

“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognise a problem before it becomes an emergency. “- Arnold H. Glasow

As leaders we are always learning, developing and growing in our craft. The only way we can become better is by actively choosing to change how we tackle certain situations. What   are your true colours?

28 Jun

Selecting and developing future leaders in your organisation

What is your organisation’s leadership development acceleration plan? What programme is your business establishing to ensure that you capture the right talent to grow and develop the future leaders of your business?
I recently spoke on this topic at a leadership summit. My focus however was on the developing and grooming of future leaders as opposed to the selection of potential future leaders.
The reason for this is quite simple. Businesses can spend a huge amount of time, energy and money on selecting the right people with the right leadership traits and experience, but what happens to them when they arrive in your business? As Jim Rohn so aptly said   “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, so it is quite obvious  that these new future leaders will not be operating in a bubble. On the contrary, they will be constantly interacting with their team members and colleagues.
So let’s paint the picture. These new leaders of the future come into the business with their own set of traits, but they are also unavoidably adopting new traits as they engage with other employees, customers and suppliers. This could be very beneficial for their development and the future of the business if they were being exposed to sought-after leadership traits from their working environment, or it could destroy all of the hard work and effort that was spent on the initial selection process if they are constantly being bombarded by undesirable behaviours.
So before you spend time and money on expensive assessment models and recruitment services, think about the existing people and culture of the business. Think about who these future leaders will be spending their time with and evaluate those people’s leadership and management abilities.
Also, where do you stand with your leadership traits? The long list of non-negotiable traits which have been set out in the future leaders job description, how well do you match up to them?
It’s about accepting that future leaders will not function in silos and that the people they are permanently working with within your organisation will influence their behaviour and belief system in some shape or form. Besides building a future leadership programme spend time on your existing team members and the future leaders supervisors. Build their skills and capabilities, build their soft skills and build their leadership skills. Adopting the mindset that everyone within the business has the ability to grow and develop themselves is your first win.
Create an environment in your business that will nurture your future leaders, not chew them up and spit them out at the first chance it gets.
27 May

Improving employee retention

Are you continually having to re-fill key positions within your team?
Employee retention is an area in business that is often overlooked. It doesn’t sound as sexy as product innovation, marketing initiatives or even evaluating the company’s P & L. So management often pay more attention to these issues, than on how to stop losing team members to the competition, for example.
Not dealing with employee retention problems can be like walking on thin ice. The weight of your business goals become so heavy that the business resources, specifically your team, are unable to support the business demands and eventually something has to give. Without a strong team, there can be no innovation or business growth and you will find yourself sinking into icy water.
Surely it can’t be that hard? Find the right people and give them an offer they cannot refuse. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Job offers don’t stand on their own. New hires also have to accept everything else that comes along with their new position. They are accepting the day-to-day routines, the norms, challenges, reputation and history of your business. They are accepting the leadership team and new peers. They are accepting “how things get done” within the business.
Now if they are happy with these factors, which make up a company’s culture, then performing their new job becomes easy. They are not distracted by non-work office stuff and are able to give their new position one hundred percent focus. The environment or culture will actually boost their performance, morale and efficiency. However, if things are feeling “off” they will be distracted, which will result in lower performance, lack of focus and possible demotivation. This scenario may not end there, as they can even become a disruptor within the business.
So if you are a business that wants to attract the right kind of people, with specialised skills and knowledge to drive your business forward and to remain loyal to your business, then you must take a step back and take an objective look at your business. Don’t just ask if the potentials on the shortlist can do the job, but assess whether they would fit into the company’s culture. Ask yourself if the company’s culture is able to support these people. Is your culture something these professionals will want to be part of, or something that they should sensibly avoid?
It’s not just about the job!