Mantra: The team is the reflection of the mindset of the leader.
For many of us there will come a time when we branch out and begin hiring a team. Within that team leaders are required to guide, manage and lead those in their team to provide the excellent customer service or the product or service that is expected by the customer and required by you.
Step by Step Wins
So how do you develop leaders?
It is about promoting ability, not tenure. It is looking for that person in your organisation who has that glint in their eye. Who is fully engaged and soaking up learning like a sponge. It is about developing these potential leaders by giving them a spot on your team and the opportunity to grow into bigger and better roles. The young leaders of today want to be challenged with opportunities for growth within the business and industry.
The smart business owners will tell their managers “I will give you as much opportunity to learn as you want. You just soak it up, but I also realise that you are not going to be here for the rest of your career, because staying in one place isn’t going to make you a great leader. Even though I have put the time and effort into developing you, you now need to go from my business to another to gain further experience. Hopefully, you will eventually come back more seasoned and knowledgeable”.
It is that sense of sharing across the business community that differentiates a visionary leader from a small-minded one.
A smart leader encourages an employee to be better themselves, perhaps to continue their education or complete advanced degrees. Some businesses may subsidise the cost with the understanding that the employee will stay with the business for a set period of time afterward. Some CEO’s are using the Lombardo and Eichinger 70/20/10 blended learning model to maximise their leadership training. This means that employees are spending 70% of their time in on-the job learning outside their comfort zone, 20% of their time in mentoring and coaching with the CEO or Senior Leadership team while 10% of their time is taken in formal education courses and reading.
Playing Above the Line: The Behaviours of VIP Leaders
The behaviour of every leader is always a choice. Those who take responsibility and accountable for their own decisions, right or wrong, and who are willing to make the choice are at the top, acting as leaders. On the other hand, those who are into denial, blaming or justification tend to struggle with the leadership role, procrastinate and remain unfulfilled. Being decisive is also important.
As Yoda (from Star Wars) said, “There is no try; there is do or do not”. Stop trying and start doing. Leaders make mistakes, admit them and recover quickly.
In many organisations these behaviours are referred to as being “above the line” or “below the line”. An easy acronym for remembering and teaching the key leadership behaviours is:
R.O.A.D – Above the line behaviour
B.E.D. – Below the line behaviour
Those who fall below the line deny there are any problems; they make excuses, and they blame others while avoiding making decisions themselves. Getting people to take accountability, ownership and responsibility is playing above the line.
In stressful situations and when a leader’s energy level is low, some leaders tend to fall back to “below the line” behaviours. That’s weak leadership, so the plan is to stay in a high-energy state that keeps you above the line. You can lead by example and also remind other team members to choose “above-the-line” behaviours in those stressful times.
The “Tough Love” Strategy: Becoming a Disciplined Leader
You can be a strong leader by setting the standard and being accountable and holding others to account. Learn how to give effective negative feedback, too. Study tough conversations (calling poor behaviours).
VIP leaders create a disciplined culture by outlining a code of conduct and setting high expectations; goals and targets are set, both agreed targets and stretch targets. There are also clear consequences. This promotes responsibility and accountability.
Push beyond your comfort zone; you learn best in the “learning zone”, just outside your comfort zone. Work on changing habits with practice. “Drills make skills”.