So you are a leader.. do you ever wonder what your role should be?
- Are you doing the right things?
- Do you spend enough time with your team(s)?
- Should you be customer facing?
- OR even doing work on the ground?
There is no ‘One-Size’ fits all answer to this and it is worth taking time out to consider this and more importantly continuously reflect on the answer so you can always improve your contribution to your business and the team around you. WHY? Well things change so much in business, and you as a leader will need to adapt.. so what you are required to be today, may not be what is needed tomorrow.
By definition, being a leader requires you to, well, lead..but what does that actually mean on the ground?
While you may not consider leadership important until you see a good one in action, or on the flip side, a bad one and the consequences of it, and there are many bad leadership examples out there, all you need to do is look at the banking scandal and subsequent recession of 2008.. But, lets not go there.. So going back to the point, when you boil it down, what makes a good leader…?
Leadership in Team Sports
I’ve been a Liverpool soccer fan for a long time.. Over the years though, I’ve become less interested in the game and that has lot to do with how the game is played, the diving, the dangerous tackling, the money, the player god delusions to name but a few.. However since Klopp has entered the picture, my interest has re surfaced.. I believe he has brought something back to football that has been missing for a very long time.. in a nutshell, that word is comradery, where players are proud to represent the club and play for each other on the pitch, giving it their all. Liverpool have brought back spirit to the game.. And this is where I will bring you back to a law, one of my favourite in business, and that is the Law of Reciprocation..
From my experience, the best teams I’ve seen, and I’m looking through a performance lens here, are the ones where everyone, including management, look out for, support and help each other when it’s needed. And while some teams naturally will do this, the leader plays a strong role, or they SHOULD DO!
Becoming a Leader
So how do you build that culture and how do you become a good leader…?
Well the short answer is you grow into it as it’s not something you learn in a classroom.. Regardless of what industry you are in and what you think you need to be, there are some fundamentals that you can build on overtime that will support any strong leadership role..
What you see in this video is a small part of a model that I love implementing in businesses called the Engagement Equation, it’s very simple in design and execution and if you have time I suggest you read the book… In this video, I focus on one element of this, which is the leadership element.
Leadership Role – Video Transcript
Hi, Shay Lynch here, director of Future State.
Today I wanna talk about leadership, and specifically, around the role of a leader, okay? When I work with companies and when I work with teams within companies and a leader within a certain area of a business, one of the main questions they always ask me in some form or other is, what there role should be? How often should they be talking to the teams? How often should they be out in the field or talking to other business areas? And my answer to that in the beginning is always, well, I don’t know, but let’s find out because there is no one-size-fits-all to that question. Because in many ways it’s always related to the purpose and also the personality of the particular leader in question as well, because it’s always important for the leader to stay close to the purpose of their business area or their business itself. It is uber important because that is why you maybe started a business in the first place, so you need to stay close to the purpose of that. But, there’s a few common themes that I’ve, not only discovered, but once I’ve worked with businesses, I’ve learnt to see the same common patterns in all across their different businesses, and what I want to talk today about is just some of those things in particular, right? So, I’ve numbered it down to four key areas where businesses, and the leaders within the business, have a particular role, okay? On the outside, right? And first of all, and I call it CASE, they need to make a CASE right, for the business, for the purpose of the business. And what that means is, C stands for community, right? They really and truly need to take responsibility for the sense of comradery within their business. Foster a sense of community so people work well together, because it’s always about being better together, and the law of reciprocation which I’ve talked about many times before, people helping each other. There needs to be a really strong bond between all levels of the business, which I’ll talk about in a minute, right? The leader also has to be authentic in their message, their purpose and their values, because people will see that a mile away. So it’s very important that you’re extremely authentic in what you do and what you say, and you really have the best things at heart for the people within your business as well, and for your customer also. So it’s important to be authentic, to both your customers, the business mission, the business brand and to your team as well, so always be authentic. And then also, when you’re talking with your team specifically, it needs to be significant. You wanna foster a sense of urgency, right, not emergency, urgency, and make sure that the people have a strong purpose and they believe in that purpose in what they’re doing for your business, so you have the same shared common goal. And again, it’s about working better together. And finally, excitement and empowerment, you could easily exchange that E to empowerment as well. It’s all about bringing the team, which you’ve making them excited, and again, relates very much to significance in terms of building urgency, and again, I’ll repeat it, not emergency in your business because that is a very, very, very dangerous thing, and a game to play with in terms of getting bad blood in your business, and people leaving, having to trace them, becoming a dictator in your business. You need to be someone who agitates success in your business, and know that everybody’s working together for the same common goal, and that is the win-win for your business. So it’s all about making a case for success within your business, and that to me, those four points really cover the general part of what a leader should do. The next question is to how, and again, that always depends on the personality of the leader itself. So, the one thing is that what, the next is the how. And the personality will define how that takes place, but it’s important to keep in touch and understand, are you doing the right things or the wrong things, and keep learning, the goal of a leader, like anything in business, is to continually learn, because if you’re not moving forward you’re definitely moving backwards, you’re even standing still, right? So, what I also like to talk about with them as well is like, traditionally in the old days of business, right, if we’re talking about a three tier business or a business area, right, so you’ve got leader, you’ve got management and you’ve the people on the ground doing the fantastic work you need them to do in your business, right? The old style leadership would always top down where people go all the way down, right, so the leader talks to management and the management talks to the team, and it’s always top down, right? That is traditionally what businesses have grown on, right, but that doesn’t work today. Businesses have changed, the dynamic has changed, people within the business have different wants and responsibilities and cares, right? So it’s important to have a very open way of communication, so what does that mean when you look the structure and the hierarchy of a team or an area, right? Well first if all, it’s not just top down, there’s always two-way communication, right? It is so important, it’s all about respect in your business, you have to show respect and that comes from having open two-way communication. So, if you talk about a leader of management, they need to be able to talk openly and talk about what they believe is right and what they believe is wrong, and be able to challenge things all the time so the management need to be able to challenge the leader all the time. And that needs to work, it won’t always be correct, but at least it’s creating open, and positive and constructive conversations, right? So that is really important, and that’s the same thing that needs to happen on the ground, but the real thing, the real importance is to have this connection here as well. You know, so the team can feel that they can talk to the leader about key issues, key possibilities and even key opportunities. So there needs to be that three dimensional communication setup within your business, right? And again, this is the what, the leader and the management will decide and develop the how, but the principles are understanding the CASE and understanding the communication process there. Because the more open and honest you are with your teams, the more they will feel the purpose, and support the purpose because it’s shared benefits. It’s all about the win-win in business, and in this case, there’s three layers, win, win, win. Everybody has to win, it’s a relationship, and again, I keep saying it, the law of reciprocation is extremely powerful when it comes to this. So, when it comes to your business and you’re asking about what role you should play in your business, I challenge you now to think about how you can make a CASE for your purpose and your why in your business, and then how do you build that communication strategy that is open and honest on all levels. I hope this makes sense, and in the meantime, this is Shay Lynch saying, thanks for listening.