‘To work successfully with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision.’ - Sir Richard Branson
Trust has never been such a valuable commodity. With the over night jump in people working remotely, many business owners who have fought against the whole notion of ‘working from home’ for years, believing that their people could never be as productive in their own homes - that they couldn’t be trusted not to spend hours watching Netflix - now have no choice but to trust their team to get things done.
We’re all in different situations right now, facing our own individual challenges, and coping in our own way, but spare a thought for the business owner who is used to micromanaging their people. The boss who’s always looking over a shoulder, who keeps people in the dark, who doesn’t give them the development they need to work independently, who has never learned to trust.
Just imagine what they are going through right now, having never invested in the systems or team training necessary for a team to work without support or supervision, with any level of success.
Now imagine what it’s like for the employee in this business, having got so used to being spoon-fed and micro-managed - from a work point of view they must feel completely alone.
Any business owner who has always judged performance by how long people stay at their desks and how busy they seem, will be at a complete loss right now, being forced to judge performance by results, by productivity and by achievement.
They are going to have to learn to trust, and quickly.
Those people with high-performing, independent teams who have systems and follow them, will have found it much easier to adapt to our new normal. The foundations will already be in place - the nuts and bolts of their operation - which will make dealing with new products, new ways of working or a whole new customer journey, so much easier.
The independent team, where each member has ownership of their role, will have freed the business owner to concentrate on leading, on adapting their strategy, on looking after their cashflow - trusting...knowing...that their team will perform.
Trust is vital in a crisis. Trust between you and your team. Trust between your business and your customers.
But where does trust come from?
Trust in your team starts way back when you hire them. Do they share your values? Care about the same things that you do? Buy into the purpose of your business and your vision for where it’s going?
With the right people in place, their trust in you builds as you train them, as you give them the systems and resources they need to do the job well, as you give them constructive feedback that helps them to grow and develop as people.
When you’re consistent in doing what you say you’ll do, their trust in you grows.
Your trust in your team builds as they follow your systems, get things right first time, show that they care about doing their job well and focus on continuous improvement.
When they’re consistent in doing what you’ve trained them to do, your trust in them grows.
Trust between your business and your customers builds as they enjoy a consistent experience day to day, week to week, month after month. When they can rely on your operational excellence - on getting the same great service and product quality no matter which team member serves them. When the values of your business are clear, and don’t waiver however difficult things become. When they know that you have their back, that you care, and that you value them.
When your business is consistent in all things, your customers’ trust in you grows.
Trust energises individuals, encouraging them to use their skills and gifts, and fulfil their potential. Trust builds highly engaged, high performing teams, which achieve amazing results.
Trust creates the customer loyalty, which can see a business through tough times and deliver long-term success.
To trust and be trusted is a powerful thing.
Have you decided what your goal is for lockdown? Do something transformational in these precious weeks and months, and reap the benefits for years to come.
I’m sure that for many of us the lockdown period has been a chance to rethink what’s really important, and to reset our goals for the weeks and months of enforced isolation; to decide what we want to have achieved and what position we want to be in when the lockdown is over.
Maybe you’ve decided to focus on your children - keeping them entertained - using this time to build a wonderfully close relationship with them.
Maybe you’ve decided to focus on your house - doing the work on it that you've been promising to do fo-rev-er!
Maybe you’re focused on learning a new skill - you've been dying to learn Italian, or play the guitar or cook, or master ‘Fortnite'!
Maybe you're using this time to master an area of your business - your marketing strategy, your product development, or maybe even... your systems!
Whatever you've decided - good for you! But let me ask you this -
“Why have you never focused on this before?”
If it suddenly seems like the best way to spend these precious weeks, what stopped you from getting aboard your chosen goal last month, or last year, or 3 years ago? What have the blocks been that seemed insurmountable, but somehow don't seem to be in the way now?
We all have 4 usual suspects when it comes to blocks to us getting stuff done.
The First Block we throw up is time - we don't have time, we haven't had time, there's just never enough time!
The Second Block is overwhelm or overload - there is just so much on our plate, so many things that only we can do, so much ‘busyness’, that we simply haven't been able to see the wood for the trees, prioritise effectively, and focus on our one thing.
The Third Block is the lack of a clear strategy - we've never known where to start, how to break our goal down into achievable steps and stages, how to know what ‘good ‘looks like.
And then of course there's the real biggie…
The Fourth Block and the main reason why we've probably never achieved this goal before...we haven't had a big enough Why!
Whatever this goal is that we've set ourselves for the lockdown period - it simply hasn't ever been important enough for us to set aside focused time to achieve it. There's not been a good enough reason to do it, we've not felt passionately enough about it to throw the necessary energy and focus at it, there have always been more important things to do.
Systemising your business is a good example of this. You may have decided to finally get your systems foundations in place, to crisis-proof your business, and achieve that consistency in your operation that removes you from it, day to day. That would be a great use of lockdown. It's something that you've known is important for some time, you absolutely get that it's important, but you've never quite given it the focus to get it done.
So here's the big question...what's changed?
In the current situation, time probably isn't an obstacle, and while we may occasionally feel overwhelmed and definitely upset by the whole crisis situation, we're probably not feeling overloaded with work. Given the time, we can clearly research who best to speak to or where to look, to develop our clear strategy. Which just leaves our why.
Do you feel passionately enough about your lockdown goal to see it through and get it done?
Are you focused and energised enough about it? Is it definitely, damn well going to happen?
If not, go back and choose something with a bigger why.
Choose something that you're really passionate about, that you'll see major benefits from now and for years to come, that gets you leaping out of bed in the morning to get to work on it, something transformational.
Decide what ‘it’ is - make a plan to achieve it - work your plan until it’s done!
Then when you look back on this lockdown in the future, you'll be happy and proud and grateful for how well you used this precious time.
I hope that you and those close to you are well and that you're staying safe!
Happy Easter and thanks for reading.
What do you want to achieve in the next few months? Have you set your self goals? Are you really focused on what you're going to get done, and how?
Something really struck me this week, and I feel the need to share it with you.
I want to talk about the importance of your personal management system right now, and for the need to protect yourself and your own time - even though it may seem like time is all you have plenty of right now.
One of the things I’ve noticed over the last week, particularly on social media and in the online groups that I’m part of, is the overwhelming amount of support, and offers of help, in posts, and Facebook lives and videos. There is SO much out there for us all to consume, and get our heads round and work out what it means for us and our businesses - how it can help us.
Of course we’re also all reciprocating by sharing our own offers of support and help, engaging with posts and watching videos - making sure that we won’t miss out on something that may help us through this unique situation we find ourselves in.
And as a result of all of this activity, there’s a very real chance that we will find ourselves at the end of this crisis, not having moved forward because we are so overwhelmed by the mountain of content, and like headless chickens, trying to keep up with everything that’s out there and trying to take too much of it in at once.
So I want you to pause, and to breathe, and to really think about what goals you want to set yourself for the next three months. What position do you want to be in at the end of the next three months, and what does that mean in terms of a concrete plan?
Is there one part of your business that you’ve always wanted to master? Something that you’ve dabbled in, but never really given it the focused effort it needs for you to really get to grips with it?
Maybe it’s your sales and marketing system - your CRM perhaps. Maybe it’s your accounting software. Maybe you’ve always wanted your own podcast, but never had time to get into it. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to achieve consistency in your business, but systems have always seemed like a dark art to you.
What is it that you want to achieve, personally? Is there a new skill that you want to master? Is there something that you want to do for your business that you’ve never had time for but you really want to grab this opportunity to get it done?
Get really clear about what that is. Take a break from social media, have a social media holiday, maybe even for a week, while you work out what it is that you want to achieve, and what help you need to achieve it.
Say you decided you want to set up a podcast and launch it with 7 interviews under your belt. When you come back onto social media, that’s what you then focus on - getting the help you need to achieve this goal. So you’ll listen to other people’s podcasts, you’ll offer to be a guest on a relevant podcast so you learn how other people set up their interviews, you’ll watch you tube videos showing how to set up your tech and where to post.
Focused, goal driven, time well spent.
Obviously I’m going to say that this time we have is perfect for working on the systems in your business - from your customer experience system to your team development system, from your rhythm building system to the personal management system we’re talking about right now - you’ll never have this sort of time again to work on your business rather than in it. And you know exactly where to get help for that! :)
We needs to look after ourselves right now, and this is very much part of that - protecting your own headspace. Remember that multi-tasking is a lie. You can only focus effectively on one thing at a time. So what are you going to focus on for the next week? Or maybe for the whole of April?
What is it that you’re going to achieve in April? Set yourself that as a goal, work out the tasks that will make sure that you achieve it, and then go ask for the help that you need to make it happen.
This is such a fantastic opportunity to work on yourself, to work on your business, to work on your skills. Don’t miss out by being unfocused. Take time to pause, to breathe, to decide what you're going to focus on, then switch off all the other noise, and focus on that one thing until it's done.
I took a bit of stick this week for writing a post suggesting that we all use the current situation as an opportunity to do something positive - to create something - to do something that you’ve been talking about doing, but have never quite got round to.
I suggested that one of these things might be to get started down the road to systemising your business, and offered help and support, with a link to an offer we have on at the minute for our online programme.
Some people felt I was being opportunistic. Even my own team were uncomfortable with my message, concerned that it would be seen as taking advantage of a bad situation.
But here’s the thing…
I know that a lot of businesses will suffer in the coming weeks and months because they don’t have systems in place, because they never saw them as important, because they didn’t see them as a good investment of time, money or energy.
Many will be regretting the fact that they didn’t work out the one right way to do every task in their business, that they didn’t record that one right way, and that they don’t have an effective training system that ensures their team follow it.
Many will be completely lost when the one person in their team who performs key activities has to self isolate, or becomes ill - the one person that they ‘simply can’t do without’ - because they never got them to record what they do in a way that others could pick up easily and run with.
Many will have recognised that certain tasks could be automated but not taken the actions necessary.
Systems are not a nice to have - they are business critical, and every business looking to come out of this current crisis stronger and fitter, needs to look to their foundations.
I’m sick of business owners working way too hard, simply because they haven’t trained their team effectively and operate with ‘chinese-whispers training’ instead.
I’m sick of seeing businesses being held to ransom by unscrupulous employees who’ve taken advantage of the fact that the business doesn’t have a performance management system. (A good friend of mine is going through hell right now because they didn’t act on my advice over a year ago!)
I’m sick of good people becoming disengaged and feeling unfulfilled because their business owner is a control freak and won’t give them the information they need to take ownership of their role.
So yes, I’m being opportunistic, if that means grabbing the chance to wake business owners up to the necessity of systems for scale and growth.
I make no apology for encouraging entrepreneurs to make purposeful use of this downturn in business.
And while I may attract criticism, I hope that the smart proactive businesses who are following the likes of Daniel Priestley’s advice to Reset and Reinvent, will take the opportunity to systemise their business, to make it leaner, stronger, healthier and more efficient, and come out of this crisis with a solid base for new and sustainable growth.
Good luck to all of you, and if you want my help, you know where I am.
When I start working with a new client I always spend some time talking to each of their team members individually to discover:
This information provides a great benchmark from which to start and judge ongoing progress. It often reveals a stark perception gap too between how the owner sees things and the team members’ view.
It’s a great exercise for a business to do. The thing I love most about it is that you get to talk to both the old-timers, people who have been around a few years and also the newbies – team members who’ve been around less than six months.
Quite often, you’ll hear people say,
‘Oh, you won’t get anything useful from new people, they’ve not been here long enough to know how things work’.
But that’s actually the point – you get their fresh view on what has become the wallpaper to everybody else. You know, when you walk into a new house sometimes and you’ve got a wall that you need to sort out because it looks hideous and then you find you’ve been living in the house two years and that wall still looks exactly as hideous but you’ve just stopped seeing it? New people spot things that the longer serving team members no longer see, or recognise as an issue. Naivety is sometimes a blessing.
So you can learn a lot about a business from talking to those who work there. But how often do we do it?
“Employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged.” - Gallup Research
As a business owner whether you employ 5 people or 50, you only have a certain amount of time to spend with your team.
So what better way to make the most of that time than by asking your team members,
'If there was just one thing you’d want from me as a manager, what would it be?'
And then of course back that up with action. It’s wonderful turning round at review time and asking your team member,
‘How am I doing in delivering what I said?’
It’s a simple but really effective form of 360 degree feedback and improves that two-way communication.
It can be tempting too to give our time to our superstars or working and working on turning round an underperfomer. But sometimes this can be at the expense of your loyal, solid workers. An analogy that’s stuck with me is that in general, teams are split as follows:
The Choir are the people in your team who are the real superstars, the people who you love having around you – your high flyers. The people that you give the big jobs to, to get them sorted.
The Crypt are the people who are under-performing. They are sometimes the rotten apples in your barrel, the people who are either constantly moaning or constantly asking the same questions over and over again, or simply very high-maintenance. (This isn’t always there fault.)
The Congregation then sit in between and are very often forgotten because they are steady, reliable and consistent. They don’t ask for anything, they are possibly never going to be your high flyers or you may just not notice their potential. But they are absolutely solid as a rock. You know that they will come in, they'll do a really good job and then they’ll go home. No trouble, just really consistent, dependable people.
So, what percentage of your time do you spend on your superstars, your under-performers and your steady reliable team members?
Perhaps your choir, your superstars don’t need too much of your attention because by definition they are self-starting, high-achievers. Your time is spent with them on public praise and in high energy gatherings, on setting new challenges and keeping them stretched and fulfilled. After all, you want to keep them! (But be careful that you don’t form a ‘club’ from which others feel excluded.)
What about the crypt? People in here may just need to be trained and nurtured to progress to the congregation or even the choir. But how much time do you spend on someone who you know is just not the right fit but you dread having that conversation with and so put it off? What about the person who does an okay job but who is incredibly needy of reassurance, of constant affirmation who picks on any little thing, who just sucks the life out of you on a daily basis? How much time do you spend and how long do you persevere?
And then how much time does that leave to spend on people who simply do their very best every day, the congregation? They may not be superstars in the recognised sense of the word, they may never achieve greater wealth or status than they have already, but they go about their work cheerfully every day, and they do it consistently well. They are the sort of people who you would want beside you in the trenches (do people still say that these days?); the sort of people who are calm and measured in a crisis; who have had their share of hard knocks, but who just keep bouncing back; the sort of people you can rely on to be…well, reliable!
And often it’s these people who we just take for granted. They are low maintenance, they don’t ask for anything so we often just leave them to it. And maybe we’re missing a trick here, for one we want to keep them and who knows, they could progress to the choir given a chance.
Do two things:
1. Organise some one-to-ones with your team. Find out what one thing you could do to make their job easier, and help them to serve your customers better. Let them talk, and listen to them.
And if you feel that you wouldn’t get straight answers then bring in an outsider, bring in a friend, (bring me in:) to talk to your team and get this information because what I’m picking up with my clients teams’ is absolute gold dust.
It’s the sort of stuff that doesn’t readily come out; feedback about where people see themselves; feedback about who’s sitting next to who and how that’s affecting their work; feedback about how poor communication is. Little stuff maybe, but it’s always the little stuff, isn’t it?
2. Think about the individuals in your team and how much time you spend with each; who is hogging your attention?
Thanks for reading
Job turnover in an organisation with positive company culture is around 14%, compared to turnover in low company cultures at almost 50%
In last week’s blog I wrote about digging deep to find your true core values. Having defined them, it’s important to live them consistently, because from these behaviours will stem the culture of your business.
will be what your team focus on, will become the things that are important to them too, and ultimately will become the culture of your team.
So if you’re trying to improve your culture you might want to start with where you are now. ( Like if you were trying to lose weight you’d start by weighing or measuring yourself.) You probably have a gut feel for the atmosphere round the place but what can you really measure? Here’s a selection of
Choose which are appropriate for your business, then look back over the past year and measure them. There are many signs of poor culture e.g cliques, clock watching, poor communication, stress or lethargy, sloppy work but ultimately the effects of these will manifest in the key indicators above. (If you graph each, every quarter you can use it to monitor progress, just as you do your Key Business Performance Indicators.)
Establishing a positive culture
So what can you do to change a poor culture if you have one, or to create a positive culture if you’re just starting to build your team?
Once you’ve established your starting point, as a manager or business owner, the first place you need to look is in the mirror. Look at the way you behave, what you follow up on, what you praise, how you communicate with individuals, what you show the team is important to you, every, single, day.
If you say that keeping commitments is important to you, do you always turn up to every meeting on time?
If you say you’re going to have a one to one with a team member, do you ever cancel it because you’re just too busy, or something more important has come up.
If you say that feedback is important for personal growth, do you listen to, and reflect on feedback from your team?
Shadow of the leader
Whether we like it or not, as managers we cast a shadow over the people in our team, and just like a child will mimic their parents, our team will mimic our behaviours and actions, follow our cues, develop our traits.
It’s important that you understand the power of your shadow, and model the behaviours that you want to see in your team, because your example will be followed
Your values come first, your team culture will follow.
Draw a picture of yourself - it doesn’t have to be a great piece of art - a stickman or a rough outline will do. Then on the right of your picture, write down all of the things that represent you on a good day.
- What are you like?
- How do you act?
- What do you say? Or not say?
- How are you with the team?
- What’s your energy like?
Then, on the left of your picture, write down all of the things that represent you on a bad day.
- What are you like?
- How do you act?
- What do you say? Or not say?
- How are you with the team?
- What’s your energy like?
Spend at least 15 minutes reflecting on the shadow you cast over the team.
Do one thing: develop at least one strategy for eliminating, or at least minimising your ‘bad’ days.
(And if you want to monitor improvement then choose past and future culture indicators to chart as outlined above.)
Thanks for reading.
People talk about values a lot. But I think often they don’t really understand what they are and why they’re important. There may be a list of your business values up on the wall where you work. But what are they really all about?
The word value comes originally from the latin word valere, which means force. In old French it then became valoir, which means to be worth, before becoming our english word values, which we define as ‘principles or standards of behaviour; your individual and personal judgement of what is important in life.’
Your values are a central part of who you are; who you want to be as a person, as a leader and as a manager; the lines you won’t cross in the way you operate; in the way you want to be with friends, family and colleagues.
Your values are your internal compass. They guide every decision, every behaviour, and every action that you take. When you go against your values, you feel it in your gut. Your gut tells you that what you've done isn't right (you may feel physically uncomfortable) whereas when you’re in line with your values, everything feels just right.
What are your values?
Whenever I ask this question in a group setting - a workshop, a networking event - the same two words are always trotted out - ‘honesty’ and ‘integrity’. And yes of course, you want to be honest, always, and yes, absolutely, you want to demonstrate integrity. But for me these are the most basic of values - the values that are the foundations of being a decent human being.
When I’m talking about values, I’m talking about the things that make you, you. The things that your family, friends and team would say really matter to you. The things that make you angry, the things that delight you, the things that you rail passionately for, or against. They are the force that drives you; the things that show what you’re worth; the heart and soul of who you are. Maybe it’s your attention to detail. Maybe it’s that you always tell it like it is. Maybe it’s that you listen in order to understand.
An architect client of mine was struggling to define what his values were. He’d trotted out honesty and integrity and then got stuck. I’d noticed though that in conversation over the two days I’d spent with him, he had said a number of times that he believed that there was always another way, another viewpoint. He told me that every time his architects were going to look at a new project, he would say to them ‘whatever your first thoughts are, remember, there’s always another way, so look for it. Look for all the options. Broaden your view.’
It was something he believed in strongly, something he lived by, a force that drove him to look at other viewpoints, other options; to expand his thinking. It was clearly one of his values.
Keeping in touch with your values is a lifelong exercise.
As you move through life, your values may change. For example, when you start out, success, measured by money and status, might be a top priority. But as you get older, perhaps after you have a family, you may value work-life harmony more.
When thinking about what your values are, ask yourself:
Let me give you an example from a private client I worked with a while ago and the feedback I gave them, which illustrates the point.
‘You say that you want a team that takes ownership for their role and how it is performed, but your team see you needing to be consulted on every decision, and keeping tight control.’
‘You say that you want a fast-paced organisation that grows at speed, but you over-analyse everything and take forever to make decisions.’
'You say that you value your people, but you cancel training sessions and team events.’
‘You say that you value your clients and want them to have first class service - but you ignore customer feedback and seem accepting of failure to deliver on time.’
What you DO is a megaphone for what you believe in.
So what do you believe in? What would your team say you value?
Your values are all about you and the personality of your business - you’re going to hire team members who share those values - you’re going to attract customers who love your values. You want these values to inspire, to attract, to hold everything together.
A brand strategy business I know has the following as their values:
So? Who are you?
Do one thing: Work that out. Then ask yourself, and your team, if your day to day behaviour reflects who you are and what you believe in.
Thanks for reading.
I can remember attending a creative thinking workshop once. Not only did it not get my creative juices flowing, but the few I had, shrivelled up and died!
It was presented and run in traditional, death by powerpoint; slides without images or colour, just bullet points of what was being said. No interaction, no audience participation, no energising fun session. It definitely didn’t do what it said on the tin. Very much, “Do as I say, rather than do as I do.”
Conversely I know someone who used to get new recruits at induction standing on chairs supported by colleagues. Demonstrating things she wanted from them going forward - ‘seeing things from a different angle’ and ‘team work’. Her session was often followed by health and safety; she always hoped the presenters didn’t turn up early and catch her!
What you do and how you behave will always either reinforce or contradict what you say. As a leader, manager, business owner you’re always ‘in uniform’ as it were. I don’t mean you have to be starchy but you need to be aware that your actions and words can have consequences, such is your influence. In my book, the amount of influence we have, just by personal example alone, is often under-estimated, after all, ‘it’s only me’.
Now back to the creative thinking workshop you may be thinking well, the fallout from that wouldn’t be great. The worst consequence may be the waste of money and people no further forward, but there can be far reaching consequences of a mere throw-away remark….
If you’re my age you’ll remember the story of successful high street jeweller Gerald Ratner. For those who don’t, he made a throw away remark about one of his products being ‘total crap’ and his business fell off the edge of a cliff.
Our team will pick up on how we behave:
all send a clear message to our team that this is acceptable and sets the tone for our business.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
It’s important that we understand and model the behaviours that we want to see in our team, and cut out those we don’t, because the way we behave will influence the way our team behaves.
Our values must come first, and demonstrating those values everyday will build our culture. More of that next week.
Do one thing: think back over the last week, have your words and actions had a positive impact on your team?
Thanks for reading.
I had a number of bosses in my time with McDonald’s - some great, some not so great. But each one of them taught me something about the sort of leader-manager I want to be and the sort of manager I definitely don’t want to be!
I remember one boss I had who was very black and white, who wanted everyone in her team to be the same, who never looked at the individual and the skills they brought to the team, but wanted them to be mini versions of herself. She was all about command and control, a micro-manager who used her position of power to bully people into doing things her way.
Happily, for me she was a one-off, an anachronism, a great example of how I was not going to manage my teams going forward, and I had plenty of great leaders around me to model. Others are not so lucky, and ‘grow up’ believing that being a manager is all about power and authority, about throwing your weight around - and the bullied become the bully.
There are a few manager stereotypes - you might recognise a couple from your own experience:
The Budgie (Everyone’s best friend)
This manager still wants to be one of the team. They hate confrontation and giving constructive feedback and would rather ignore poor standards than talk to one of the team, no matter the consequences. They often work late to help out the team or to correct mistakes they’ve made. They still know all the gossip and will often be the team’s agony aunt. They want to be everyone’s best friend first and their manager second.
The Woodpecker (Micromanager)
This manager is obsessed with the details - everything has to be perfect and ‘just so’. Mistakes get on their nerves because their team should be able to get it right by now. They want reports at every stage of a project, and will regularly check up on the team to see what they’re doing and that tit’s being done exactly as they would do it.
The Peacock (Aloof/Hands-Off Manager)
This manager operates from a distance. They give minimal information to the team about what they want and then leave them to get on with it. If things go well they take the credit, if things go badly they blame the team. They’re rarely around for advice or support. Always out of the office or in meetings with the boss. They don’t get involved in the day to day because they don’t see it as their job - they have people to deal with all that.
The Seagull (Non-stick Manager)
This is the manager who swoops in, dumps all over everyone and then flies off again. They are erratic, poorly prepared and extremely arrogant, and damage team morale by treating them like idiots, talking down to them, and blaming everyone else for their failures. When things turn out badly or they run into a problem, they swoop in to assign blame and then become the hero by sorting it out.
The Eagle (Inspirational Leader)
This is the well respected manager that the team would walk through fire for. They’re inspirational, firm but fair, and hands-on when they’re needed. They do what they say they’ll do, and are always straight with their team who know exactly where they stand. They give credit whenever possible, and when there’s a problem, they take responsibility. Always looking to develop their team and better their leadership skills, they have a great relationship with their boss.
They are the leader-manager we all aspire to be every day.
Do one thing: Have a think about the managers and leaders that you’ve experienced. Who have you loved working with or admired, and why? Who have you hated working for or been glad you didn’t, and why? Then take a look at your own style, what are you happy with and what do you want to improve?
The 5 Management Styles are taken from my latest book 'Mission: To Manage' due for publication in July 2020.
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Leader? Manager? or Hybrid?
The challenge for the small business owner (and yes, the photo is a long shot - A Labradoodle 'hybrid' - but who doesn't love the odd dog picture?!)
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Jack Welch
There are many business owners who are inventors, creators, skilled in one specific area - perhaps that’s you. And you may not see yourself as a natural born leader; as someone who could inspire a team to walk through fire for them. Or maybe you’re an ‘accidental manager’ - someone who never wanted to manage people, but now finds themselves with a small team.
Back in the day, there was a very clear distinction between a leader and a manager. In a nutshell, leaders were considered to do all of the strategy and big picture thinking, while managers did all of the organising of resources and looked after execution of the strategy. In the corporate world, this can often still be the case, but in the world of the successful small business, there is a very real need for leaders to be managers, and vice versa.
The view still exists today that management skills can be learned whereas leadership is less tangible; more an ability that you’re either born with, or you’re not.
I’m a firm believer that anyone with the will, can learn and develop leadership skills just as they can learn and develop management skills.
Yes, I think without doubt, some people are born leaders; they have a charisma and an energy about them that can’t be taught or learned. Some come from backgrounds where there were no positive role models and yet they still emerge to inspire and lead others. And there are many types of leader; take Ghandi for instance who galvanised a nation by his quiet example and perseverance.
But I know equally, that you can learn leadership behaviours. And it’s fair to say that charisma on its own, without the leadership behaviours to match it, can be a dangerous thing. Remember Bill Clinton? He is a great example of a man with amazing charisma and energy, who was a little flawed when it came to being a leader.
So what are the qualities of a great leader? Here are my personal top 7:
Every manager needs to be a leader and every leader needs to be a manager. In your role as a leader you’ll make sure that your team know where they’re going, that they feel comfortable, that they grow as people and contribute to achieving team goals.
But people need structure to succeed. So as a manager you need the skills to organise your team’s activity and make best use of the resources you have to deliver on your goals. A manager without leadership skills won’t optimise their team’s potential. On the other hand, a leader without management skills will be chaotic and drive their team mad.
Great leaders are also managers because they understand the best way to harness their team to get the work done to achieve their goals.
Great managers are also leaders because they know how to make best use of their own skills and talent and more importantly how to get the best out of every individual in their team to deliver even greater results.
All of these skills and behaviours can be learned. But there is one last quality I’d like to share that marks out a leader/manager who is committed to being as good as they can be: The willingness to ask for help
“What is the bravest thing you've ever said”? asked the boy.
“Help!” said the horse.
Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Don’t ever be too afraid or too proud to ask for it.
Do one thing: think about your role as a leader manager. What skills or behaviours do you need to develop so you’re better able to grow your team? What help might you need?
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Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)