Is your business in the fast lane?
Are you an ambitious business or entrepreneur with the potential to double sales turnover within next three years of trading? If so great! If not read on………..
In this the third article in the series – “Is your business in the fast lane?” – I concentrate on the importance of Leadership in helping your businesses reach the fast lane. Subsequent articles focus on other areas to ensure improvement, growth and sustainability of your business.
Leadership is the ability to create and present a vision so that others want to achieve it. It requires skill of building relationships with other people and effectively organising resources. Mastery of leadership is open to everyone.
There are seven steps to successful Leadership:
- Developing awareness
- Understanding people
- Power and authority
- Decision making
- Creating a vision, and
- Taking Charge
Developing awareness – Leaders need to take time to reflect on strengths and weaknesses of their own behaviour, thereby enabling them to creating the basis for ongoing improvement. Leadership success depends upon a positive relationship between leaders and supporters and how leaders demonstrate this support through their actions. They know respect is earned.
The leader’s tasks are to focus attention on a common purpose, to guide events and to organise activity. Cooperation amongst colleagues is inspired by creating a shared sense of awareness of the importance of the task. Leaders that manage their behaviour effectively enhance their skills when leading others.
Understanding people – Leaders need to understand people and the fact that everyone is not the same. Recognising these individual differences in terms of ambitions, dreams and aspirations will enable these differences to be harnessed and make the group stronger. Hence, its about how the leader recognises these differences, inspires, motivates, rewards and values each member of the team to achieve the common goal.
Power and Authority – With the responsibility of leadership comes the challenge of managing power wisely for the benefit of the whole group. The title leader does not in itself create leadership. Discussion, feedback and debate are essential so that the leader can learn form other members of the group. The issue of group maturity is partly resolved if leaders learn the skill of delegation – that is defining the task, presenting why it’s important, explaining any expectations and evaluating and discussing the results with the individual and or group.
Communication – In its simplest form communication is based on giving and receiving information and involves listening and speaking. All work and social exchange depends upon communication, it is the means for sharing ideas, feelings and resources. Thus, when communication breaks down, disagreements and misunderstandings occur. Thus, communication is paramount in successful leadership and it involves listening, speaking, social skills and creating an understanding.
Decision making – whether leaders do this alone or within a group it is essential they do this with confidence. Further when the decision is made it is the leader who signals it’s time to take action. Decision making is improved by focusing on what the priorities are, setting clear goals and developing a systematic approach.
Identification of priorities allows leaders to focus on urgent and important issues first whilst the successful outcome of these decisions depends on setting clear goals and objectives. Finally, there are always risks involved in decision making. Thus, careful study of all available information and the available options leads to more effective decisions.
Creating a vision – Vision is the distant light which gives direction to any effort. When clear and bright, it attracts attention and stimulates interest and curiosity. When leaders express vision in a way that touches their supporters, they invite strong commitment as it provides a common purpose which leads to a united action.
Taking Charge – leaders who draw upon their skills, knowledge and experience of the aforementioned steps have a far better change of success than those that don’t. Improved performance means that leaders must take charge of their thinking about each of these topics above – by reviewing and assessing their strengths and weaknesses of leadership performance – as well as taking charge of changing their behaviour. By doing this leaders can create an action plan for further leadership development.
In summary, Leadership is the key to mobilising the “troops” and getting your business into the fast lane. Do you measure up as a Leader?