TEC’s blog is comprised of an extensive list of resources suited to the eyes of SME CEOs and executives. If you missed one of our weekly posts, below is a list of our top blog articles thus far in 2017.
An organisation’s structure forms the very basis of its operations. As a company grows, the impact the structure can have is significant. Read the guide to choosing and changing your organisational structure to suit your business’s needs.
Is your approach to leadership authentic? It plays an important role in shaping your business’s culture. Learn how you can be the most authentic version of yourself.
Are you one of the 36% of organisations that don’t have a formal leadership development strategy? The relationship between leadership styles and employees play a crucial role. Learn the five most popular leadership styles here.
Do you manage people, or do you lead the way for them? 46% of all startups fail due to general incompetence in leadership. Learn how to be a leader here.
Perhaps it’s time to revisit those New Year’s resolutions. Ensure the goals you set are driven with clarity and purpose. These tips will help you identify why these goals are important and how to set goals that you value.
Changing your leadership style isn’t an easy process. CEOs need to carefully evaluate their own skills, based on feedback from their team, and then identify strategies to improve the way they work to match these needs.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for leaders to make small, fast changes to the way they lead, changes that can help them achieve their goals and build a stronger organisation.
To meet this challenge, we’ve assembled a list of five small adjustments you can make to your leadership style, based on advice from some of the biggest thinkers in their respective fields
1) ‘Start with Why’
It’s often the simplest questions that are the hardest to answer. According to Simon Sinek, the most important question that leaders fail to ask is ‘why?’ Why does an organisation exist? Why is it different to competitors?
Asking these questions and then building a strategy around them is the exact opposite of how many leaders think about their business. However, having an answer to these questions is exactly what sets successful companies from the rest.
For more information, you can watch Simon’s TED Talk where he goes into more detail on how starting with why can help business owners:
Asking yourself why your company exists and teasing out answers to these questions can be a relatively quick change to your leadership style, but it’s one that has the potential to redefine the way your business operates.
2) Find a mentor
One of the most important relationships any business owner or CEO will have is with a mentor who can help them to become a better leader. Mentors come in many different forms – some are formal roles while others are informal, while each will have different skills and experience.
It is unlikely that you will be able to find a mentor in a single day – it takes time and effort to find and build this relationship. However, it only takes a moment to commit to this journey and begin thinking about what you need from a mentor.
3) We, or me?
The words we use to communicate can have a profound on how people perceive us. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, leaders use the pronoun ‘we’ far more frequently than lower-ranked employees.
According to the author David Burkus: ‘While switching from singular ‘I’ to the plural ‘we’ may not make you a king or win you a premiership, it might help shift your perspective from self-focused to others-focused, make you more aware of the needs of others and, as you work to meet those needs, might just make you a better leader.’
4) Empower your staff to make decisions
Just like finding a mentor, empowering staff is a long-term decision that can have important consequences for your business. This can take many forms, from delegating more responsibility to other executives through to simply taking a step back in meetings and giving staff the chance to lead discussions.
Roselinde Torres, managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, has emphasised that this is partially due to changes in how we think about leadership.
Roselinde Torres: Leadership is no longer about one heroic leader and more about distributed leadership teams. #NXMW2015
— Olson (@OLSONagency) August 5, 2015
5) Celebrate small wins
In every organisation, there are big successes and there are small things that go right every day. While these little wins will often go unrecognised, they also play an important role in setting the tone of a workplace. Identifying and supporting these small moments can start today and is an easy way to build support within the business for new growth.
Writing in Entrepreneur, Zach Ferre, CEO of Coplex, offers the following advice:
‘To boost our positivity ratio, we send screenshots of good customer feedback in our ‘weekly good notes’ team emails. Showing employees that customers appreciate their work and are seeing positive results helps remind them why they do what they do,’ he explained.
Adjusting your leadership style happens incrementally and it takes time to see the benefits. However, leaders that can put in place a plan to address these obstacles will position themselves in a much better position to drive larger change in their organisation.
Being a great leader requires mastering a whole range of different skills, but it also calls for a specific set of personality traits and qualities that have to be learnt through experience.
Leading a company is also about walking the walk, and there are certain areas where successful CEOs can really add value to their organisation. In fact, there are a few key styles that leaders embody and that any CEO should consider in their role.
Communicating a clear vision
One of the most important roles a leader has is to set the tone for a company, both culturally and strategically. That starts with having a core vision for the business that can guide the development of the organisation.
While it is often easy to have this vision if you are leading a start-up, it is just as important if you are stepping into the role of CEO with an established company. Whether it’s boosting market share or taking the business in a new direction, having a clear vision is central to being a strong CEO.
When you have this vision, communicate it regularly; in every conversation with staff members and every speaking opportunity you are presented with. Each of these opportunities is a chance to better communicate why the company exists and what its goals are.
Understanding a company vision is also highly tied up in other important measures of business success. Research published in the Harvard Business Review has even found a positive correlation between understanding strategy and an employee’s overall opinion of a company.
Focusing on team building
CEOs cannot drive a team to perform through their own will alone – that is a quick road to micro-management. Effective CEOs will instead focus on setting up the right team, with resources, skill sets and the passion to really achieve results.
This begins at the C-Suite, with great leaders also looking to surround themselves with other executives who share their passion and commitment, while also bringing unique skills to the table. However, this approach also needs to extend throughout a business in order to achieve meaningful change.
Building the right risk culture
There are plenty of business risks that companies need to manage, from reputational to operational obstacles. Handling these often means putting in place structures to manage risk at every level.
Great CEOs also know there are limitations to a risk culture, and that sometimes a calculated risk is essential for keeping a business moving. As markets fluctuate more than ever, being prepared to take risks and embark on new projects is essential for keeping a business agile and moving forward, while still managing risk in the right way.