My inspiration to write an article on leadership came from my team’s compliments, hard work, dedication and loyalty. Being a person who aspires to be a great leader, it is amazing to hear you’re team say things like “I went on a leadership course and what they said about a great leader, is what I see in you” and “we aren’t here for the money or job security, we are here to follow you”. So this is my take on leadership for business owners, managers and executives. As a leader, I feel that additional emphasis should be placed on the following activities:
- Build a framework consisting of guidelines for your team.
- Inspire and motivate your team.
- Constantly strive to build a better future for them.
- Teach and educate them.
- Get out of their way.
Building a Framework
Before they start playing the game they need to know what the rules of the game are. Businesses have a lot of similarities to sport and each sport has its own set of rules. What are yours? Before you can start leading them you need to build a framework of policies, procedures, code of conduct, values and culture. You need to be 100% clear on what you expect from your team and how you expect them to behave. Once you have defined the rules of your business it’s on you to make sure they are followed and to hold your team accountable.
You are not there to tell them what to do
Just because you hold a higher position, might be more educated, get paid more, or whatever your reason may be to think you are better than them, doesn’t mean that you are. The only time you should tell them what to do, is when you hold them accountable to your documented framework. You might know more about a certain subject than them, but I can guarantee you that they know something you don’t! Bottom line is that they are equal to you as a human being, so treat them that way.
You serve them
As a leader, it is your job to serve your team. Most leaders get this wrong. Again, just because you are their superior doesn’t mean they will follow you or serve you, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Now that you are the leader: you have to prove to them that you are fit to be in the position of authority, and, that you care about them. Leaders are the first people to run into battle and if you are worthy and they trust you, then they will follow you. Standing behind them with a whip and telling them to serve you is the same as slavery.It is your job to remove obstacles that are inhibiting their ability to complete their job. These may include; too many rules, bureaucracy, bad employees, bad clients and sometimes bad leaders. Your job is to make sure they can do their job as effectively as possible so lead by example and serve your team.
Don’t keep bad company
There are few things as destructive to a good team as bad team members. People who are negative, bad mouth each other, always complaining and constantly stepping outside the framework you set, need to go and they need to go now! The best thing you can do for A-team players is to get rid of your C-team players. I have heard countless excuses as to why you can’t do it now, but this is the best thing you can do for your team. If you have as good a team as we do, then they will step up, lift their game and make sure it’s business as usual.
They are busy working their butts off to make sure you look good. The least you can do is teach and educate them, so that they can become experts in their fields. To be able to constantly be teaching you need to be constantly learning. Do courses on personal growth, sleeping habits, investing or whatever will benefit your team and then teach (not tell) them how to apply it in their own lives.
Build a family
Lastly but equally important is to build a family. Families will have good times and bad times but they always seem to stick together. The saying goes: you can choose your friends, not your family – but in this case, you can. Choose people that will not only stay with you when times are good but also when the going gets tough. At some point, it will, then you will need your team more than ever . Choose people that you can enjoy every day of your life, people that you can laugh with and have fun, but also console and cry with. You will spend more time with your team than you will with your wife, so choose wisely. Treat them as you wish them to treat you, spoil them as often as you can and tell them how much they mean to you. You cannot do this without them so make sure they know it.
Thank you for reading this and I guarantee that if you follow these guidelines and constantly apply, educate and better yourself you will end up with an army that will die for you – but you have to be willing to do the same.