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1 Simple Recipe For Successful Leadership

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If FREE elections were held within your company, would you remain the leader once the dust settles? Some of you just breathed out a sigh of relief that it doesn’t work that way and you are the ones that rely on position power over your performance as the leader. Are you ready to make that change? Here’s the recipe:

Create a great work environment

This is essential to promote and maintain productivity. Team members need a place where they can focus and thrive. For this to be possible across functions and among a variety of personalities and professionals from different backgrounds, a leader must manage corporate politics. Replace perceptions of favoritism, biases and personal agendas with fair play. Everyone must be given an equal opportunity to contribute.

 

Let your team members have the ability to opt out of opportunities for advancement, new challenges and greater participation up, down and across the organization. Some employees do not want to grow in that respect but even they must be continually challenged to develop in their respective roles whether they seek greater responsibilities or not. Those that don’t grow die professionally and worse become a hindrance and obstacle to the company achieving its overall goals. An open door policy is a move in the right direction but this must be managed effectively. Your office is not a place to host cutthroats, backstabbers and saboteurs.

 

If there is conflict, you must challenge employees to resolve it among themselves. They are all adults and should act as such. Only as a last resort you should step in to mediate and do so with all parties present. Create a safe place for the accuser and the accused and be clear that the end goal is to get to the root cause, resolve the conflict and rebuild the damaged relationships with a view to work together in the way forward as a unified body.

 

Invest heavily in your people

Your employees manage the equipment, interact with your clients, drive growth and serve as the ambassadors of your brand. Employee personal and professional development must not be an afterthought. It should be an ongoing process. Managers in partnership with each team member should be able to objectively track their growth at established intervals throughout the year.

 

Too many ‘penny pinching’ CEOs cringe at HR professionals when development opportunities are tabled in cross functional leadership meetings. If you want your employees to go above and beyond it only makes sense to invest in the development of their skills and competencies. The more they learn and develop – the more they can bring to the table without the company having to bring in a cadre of experts every time a new initiative is launched or the company expands in a new direction. Investment at this level builds employee engagement and loyalty to the organization. They feel valued and are often driven to flaunt their new skills. Employees willingly go above and beyond without the traditional arm twisting and subtle threats.

 

Empower Your Performers

This must apply at all levels within the organization starting from the janitor right up to the executive office. If the custodian consistently demonstrates certain competencies acknowledge and celebrate this track record of success by giving him a broader platform to perform. I once worked for a company where the custodian was exceptional in his role in maintaining a clean work environment.

 

In order to be further his success, he built relationships with department heads to establish specific protocols. He never went over his supplies budget and was a great brand ambassador as he often raved about his love for what he does and the company. At a cross functional leadership meeting I nominated him to manage the company’s new energy savings initiative. I got some wrinkled eyebrows initially but after it sunk in every manager was on board that he would be the ideal candidate for the role.

 

He was awarded a stipend, secondary budget, and in his first quarter his initiatives saved the company over $25,000 in electricity costs. Are you prepared to think outside the box? Empower every star in your organization? The results will amaze you if you do!

 

Acknowledge Efforts and Reward Results

Have you seen the latest Progressive Insurance commercial where the agent lost the client to another insurance company? Flo highlighted the fact that even in that as an agent he reinforced what the brand represented. Progressive consistently wants to act in the best interest of its customers even if it means losing a client or two along the way. Customers do not forget things like that and will likely return eventually because of the brand’s commitment and high level of excellent service offered. After all, cheaper rates do not guarantee quality service and efficient processes.

 

Flo offered to treat him to an ice cream but sprinkles would not be included (smile). I laugh every time I watch the commercial but the point was not lost on me at all. There are times unforeseen factors are out of your team’s control. They do not achieve the prescribed goals but their efforts were not without some success. As a leader you are challenged to genuinely acknowledge these efforts and the positives that stem from it. Your next step is to re-strategize for the way forward.

 

When they do accomplish the goals and surprise you by exceeding them, it should be reflected in how you celebrate these achievements. Do not be a hard case by declaring that’s what we pay them to do. Your goal here is to maintain that momentum and in the same vein encourage others to follow suit.

 

Be the Example

When was the last time you closed a sale? Attended a meeting with a prospective client? Made a cold call? Participated in a service recovery scenario? You worked your way up from the tranches to be where you are today, but do not forget it is those who are in the trenches now and their stellar performance that keeps you at the top.

 

It is important to stay engaged with the customer experience. Role model what a successful representative should be and learn a few tricks from those that create the experience daily.

Follow this recipe and you will enjoy a landslide victory without the need to leverage your title or position to command respect and loyalty as their leader.

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