Leadership isn’t something I usually talk about on my blog, but I believe it’s an important thing to address.
After all, you can have the best marketing strategy known to man pulling in a shed load of clients, but if your team are not pulling together, your business will fall apart.
In that sense, a good leadership style is just as important as your content and marketing.
Do you lead or push?
Among your team, you’ll have people that are competent at their job, those that need extra guidance, and one or two who show real potential.
For this article, I’m going to concentrate on the ones with potential. They are the stars of the future. Within a few months of them working for you, they stood out. Not necessarily because they were the top performers, but because they possessed a certain quality.
It’s not easy to put that into words, but you probably know when I mean. They are the type of people that have what it takes to climb the ladder.
Let’s take Bill as an example.
He started working at your company about twelve months ago. He was a graduate, had no real work experience to speak of, but during his interview, there was something in his manner that made you sit up and take notice.
You took a punt on him, and he started work.
He wasn’t an instant shining light, but his personable manner made him an immediate hit with your clients. He never topped the sales league and yet he was still head and shoulders above the rest of your team.
How do you nurture his talent?
Here’s what you don’t do
You’re old school, so you decide to push Bill to fulfil his potential.
When things go well for him, and he gets a sale, you’re all over him like a rash telling him how brilliant he his.
However, inevitably, the next month his sales are down.
Your reaction is to push him. When he comes to you for advice, you’re short with him, telling him to get on with it.
He begins to notice you treat him differently from the rest of the team. If they’re struggling you arrange for more training for them. However, when Bill hits a rough patch, you give him short shrift.
You’re like that because that’s how your old boss was with you.
The problem is your selective memory has blotted out the misery you felt at the time.
Eventually, Bill decides he’s had enough and finds himself another job.
When he tells you the news, you can hardly believe your ears. One of your best people is heading off to a competitor.
They will now harness his talent and reap the benefits of having him as an employee while you’re left wondering what happened.
A bit far fetched?
Unless you change from being a bully to a leader, this is what will happen to you (if it hasn’t already happened).
I know this because it happened to me. Many moons ago I started in banking. On their management development programme, I worked my way through the ranks to reach Manager’s Assistant.
I hated every minute of it. The manager I was assigned to made my life a misery. Eventually, I’d had enough and handed in my notice, to which his response was “I’m going to miss you. You’re the best assistant that’s ever worked for me.”
If he had led rather than bullied me, who knows, I might have stayed in the bank rather than become a copywriter.
Lead, as you would want to be led
Leading means being a good communicator, nurturing and encouraging talent, being honest and inspirational, and giving feedback that’s helpful, not demeaning.
If you want to keep your best people, it’s essential you treat them, as you would want to be treated. If you don’t all you’ll be doing is training the best people for your competitors.