We enjoy hosting the occasional guest post. It changes the voice, introduces new opinion and generally tends to help keep things fresh. I am delighted to offer this excellent article from Chris Smith, Chairman of Almond Engineering and Managing Director of Culligan (UK) on ‘Leadership’ – Enjoy!
There is so much already written on this topic, most of it by people much better qualified than I, that writing a short post on leadership is quite daunting. So in an effort to provide something useful to newer leaders and perhaps thought provoking for more experienced colleagues I have tried to summarise my view on the basic building blocks: make sure your team understands the goals, make sure the individuals know the actions needed to achieve the goals, hold people to account for their actions and behaviours, and finally remember that you set the tone for your team.
You as a leader are, or should be, judged on the results of your team; that is does the team consistently reach the goals set for it? It is axiomatic that your team has little chance of reaching any goal if they are not crystal clear on what it is. Setting and communicating the goals is a critical responsibility for any leader.
Goals without a plan are just a dream; we have all heard some version of the ‘we are going to double sales’ speech that was not followed up with any ideas about how. The next task then is to work with the team and the individuals to define the actions and behaviours necessary to achieve the goals. At this stage it is vital to involve the team in defining the implementation actions; it is almost inevitable that the front line individuals will have insights that you do not and everyone is likely to be much more committed to a plan they had a hand in drafting.
High achievement absolutely requires holding people to account. Open and genuine praise when due, support when someone is struggling and action for bad behaviour. This must be consistent, fair and timely. Good people will welcome this as much as they will hate watching poor behaviour being accepted; if you are fair and consistent the only people that will resent this perhaps don’t belong in your team.
If the points above sound like basic management and not leadership I would counter that the first step in good leadership is to consistently implement the absolute basics. The final point I would like to mention is that your actions, behaviours and demeanour will have a major impact on the team. I believe that you have a duty to be as honest and open as possible with your team, but if you are not optimistic, focused and committed then why would you expect anyone else to be?
To summarise this in four questions you may wish to ask yourself:
- Is everyone in your team clear on the team goals?
- Does everyone know what is expected of them as individuals?
- Does everyone in the team know your opinion of their behaviour and current performance?
- Do you honestly walk the walk (most of the time – no one is perfect!)?
Chris Smith – https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-smith-5090379/