The single biggest decision for your business
In thinking about the key point of this week’s post, I struggled to put it more succinctly than writer Publilius Syrus did 2000 years ago:
“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”
It’s only when the seas are rough that the skill of a leader is truly tested. When times are good and your team are a bunch of rationally minded, hard-working individuals, it’s easy to be everyone’s friend and stick to your values. True leaders continue to show and demonstrate their values regardless of conditions. That’s why choosing the right person (and supporting them) is huge for your business.
So how do you find a true leader?
You recruit right and develop your talent.
It’s no-longer enough to find the best, give them a start date and watch from the sidelines. Their success is imperative, which is why you need a holistic approach to recruiting leaders.
Any appointment should be the start of a journey that encompasses onboarding, acclimatisation and professional executive coaching. Through structured coaching support you can mitigate risk, improve return and increase retention. It also gives your brightest and best the tools and emotional intelligence to steer your business through those choppy seas.
Managing is easy, leading is not
Whether you need a manager for the shop floor or the c-suite, you need a leader that can keep employees engaged and productive when there’s plenty to dissuade them. Take Steve for example.
He was brought in as the new Marketing Director for an international technology company. It’s a tough market place and he was being compensated well to keep his employer’s brand and sales ahead of the competition. To ensure this happened, he needed his team to be motivated and creative. Luckily they were.
In fact for the first few months, Steve has it easy. His team were hard working and collaborative, displaying a great attitude and exceptional talent. The market was buoyant, the board were happy and Steve had little to other than get to know his new colleagues.
But the tech market is fickle
Sales dropped sharply and redundancies were made. Steve’s department lost two members and morale dropped as pressure rose. Steve was pulled into a meeting with the board and the honeymoon period was well and truly over. To turn things around he introduced higher sales targets for his staff, with more frequent reporting and longer hours to try and stop anyone else from getting the chop.
Managing with emotional intelligence
Inevitably, the new working environment affected Steve’s team and he had some serious managing to do to keep his department and business on track. He now faced a range of tough issues with his staff:
- They became resistant to change and their new manager
- Feeling a lack of support and respect, they gave the minimum
- Having seen colleagues made redundant, they feared for their own jobs and became negative
- Failing to see how he Steve was earning his fat pay packet, his team became overly critical of him and started to turn each other
- And of course, at least one member of the team believed Steve was doing it all wrong and was vocal about the fact that they should’ve been given the role
The fan had been hit by the proverbial. In a matter of days, Steve found himself in a situation that demanded every ounce of his managerial experience and know-how. Moreover, the company demanded this of Steve, after all this is what they were paying him for.
This is a common situation faced by businesses across the world, with success or failure depending on how your manager performs as a leader. If you’ve hired right and developed them through executive coaching, they’ll use their emotional intelligence to remain calm, focused and tackle each of the problems above individually whilst steering the group forward. A big part of this is the availability of professional external support and opinion.
Which takes us back to choosing the right partners
By developing the right relationship with recruitment and coaching partners built on an intimate knowledge of your business needs and the industry you operate in, you can attract and develop the right leaders. Whatsmore, you can better-protect your business and ensure quicker return on investment.
Steve was great
The good news for everyone at that tech company was that Steve was a strong leader. He’d been the right candidate and had the ability and support to reassure, engage and motivate his team through the difficult period. The result of a considered approach to senior recruitment.
The most successful organizations that Gallup has worked with in similar situations have one thing in common: senior leaders and managers are ready, willing and able to tackle their workplace engagement problems. Ensuring you choose and support the right leader is imperative, or, to quote Gallup CEO Jim Clifton:
“The single biggest decision you make in your job—bigger than all the rest—is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits—nothing.”
To discuss any of the ideas contained within this article please contact…
William Galton:- The Training & Development Consultancy