Leadership is no longer granted in a job title or organisational structure. Effective leadership echoes in every interaction from your words, actions and even mannerisms. Infact, the opinions of customers, shareholders and suppliers all hinge on how a leader presents themselves. As such, the difference between an effective leader and one who’s struggling can shape an organisation.
Start with your strengths
Growing into a leadership role relies on continual self-development. Being is just the start of the journey, so new leaders in particular need to time to look at what they do well, and how they can evolve to better support their team and their business.
I have seen that a leader may be quite comfortable dealing with the business at its current level, but what happens when there’s major transformation?
Significant changes draw on much more than just someone’s technical and strategic abilities. This is where authentic leadership becomes the pivot point for success in business.
Clarify your own priorities
One of the major tensions I often see is between time and resources. If leaders find themselves getting bogged down in operational issues instead of working on the business, it is time to review their resources and priorities.
If leaders don’t have time to do the work only they can do, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Leaders don’t have time to waste on tasks other people could or should be doing.
It is important to turn this around and clarify the priorities for the business and leader, this shift in approach saves much wasted effort and has major impact on the business goals.
Work with your senior team
Once leaders are clear on their own plan, they can support their senior leadership team evolve as well. These direct reports are an essential support in your leadership and make a vast difference to the amount of time a leader has to work on the business. This means focussing on more than individuals and their abilities.
As a leader it is important to set aside time to be looking ahead to both emerging industry trends and those that will impact the business world as a whole. Then you can ask yourself ‘what will my leadership team do to support me through this?’ and direct their development accordingly.
It’s all about time
Time management is not just about what a leader can spare, but what the rest of their team can do in a given day, week or month. This is where you can engage your senior management team.
The key to prioritising your time and your workload, and be sure you have the right people surrounding you.
The bigger the gap in the skills, competencies and knowledge between a leader and their senior leadership team, the more time they’re going to spend resolving issues. It’s a sign that the people within the team need development. Be sure to setup frameworks to upskill or resource these teams.
Get the right advice
Leaders that are exposed to external views and opinions are better prepared for the changing landscape ahead. One subject that crops up often is when business owners are approaching expansion into new markets for the first time.
At our peer meetings, we’ve had examples where, as the members walk through these upcoming expansions with the group, it becomes clear that there needs to be quite a cultural shift in how the business thinks about itself.
Most importantly, the resourcing of going from an Australian to a multinational company means that some of the existing structures – let alone the people – aren’t going to be the best fit for an international expansion.
They might ask, “how do you actually go about adding to your day job as a CEO or business owner with the expansion into a new country? How do you prepare your existing team?” By bringing these questions to a peer group, leaders can pick the brains of people who have done this all before, and help them find new perspective on these challenges before they become overwhelming.
Effective leadership in a nutshell
As we have explored here, effective leadership is more about people and drawing on the strengths of those around you.
By: TEC Chair, CEO mentor and coach Trent Bartlett