Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Do LESS Be MORE Leadership

Do less be more as a leader by Richard Gourlay #Sheffield leadership development consultant and trainer, mentor and coach.

The art of Leadership: do less and BE MORE.

The challenge for leaders today is that expectations about leaders are so high. They are in charge, and that means that they must know everything that is going on, being able to wave magical wands to fix anything at a drop of a hat. This expectation acts like catching hooks on leaders, pulling them into doing rather than leading their business. 

Leaders to stay leading, must therefore member the golden rule that any business is a group of people delivering something. If you want them to succeed then the leader must create the successful conditions for that success to happen. Leaders therefore must design and build the environment for success, and then make it sustainable, so the environment becomes a stable one to continue that success. 

Leaders need to therefore focus on their people leadership skills, not task or output.  

Leadership skills by Richard Gourlay in Chesterfield, Sheffield and East Midlands learn how to lead better.

Leadership Vision 

For leaders to lead they must first identify their core purpose in leading, or as Simon Sinek calls their WHY, why are they running this business? What is their vision for their business, which defines them as a leader, who are they, what do they stand for and ultimately what difference do they intend to make. That clear and shared vision drives the purpose and establishes the direction of travel for everyone. Without a clear vision and purpose leaders are often left dealing with internal politics between differing factions pulling the organisation in differing directions. 

Creating balance between work, home and self is an important aspect of leaders. Avoiding being overdriven, having time to think and reflect is vital for leaders to be able to research opportunities, evaluate options and balance their work within their life. Taking on too much, juggling too many competing elements will lead to poor leadership decisions, personal pressures and often leads towards burnout.  Balancing your life is a key skill in being a effective leader.   

Two Key Skills in Stepping Back

The first key skill of all leaders (except the one-man band business) is that you need to make yourself redundant from all operations. This statement often shocks leaders I work with, but if you are in the business you cannot be working on it, and you cannot be leading it effectively. Do less within the business enables you to do more for the business.

If the business can operate fully without you then you can lead it effectively. This means ensuring you are not critical to how it works, from sales to delivery, from operations to overtime you must not be essential. That means empowering your people to run everything, with the autonomy and responsibility to deliver what the customers needs. The more you empower the simpler the business becomes, and the more rewarding it is for its employees. 

Empowering people and letting them fly in their role, frees leaders to walk the floor and see how their people are performing, removing the blockages of the flow (the smoothness of operations) is an important first leadership stage in what is called the servant leadership role. 

The second is in looking at developing people, from praising people for doing a good job, and challenging them to develop their own solutions to their problems. Called safe failing, it is allowing people the freedom to try solutions and see what works rather than having to wait for something to fail before it is escalated up to the leadership. While praising people is a positive human touch skill, challenging people to solve their own problems within safe boundaries is a real leadership skill. It takes trust and a changed mindset to encourage people to try to create solutions rather than always asking what to do.  

Challenging people to come up with solutions to improve their role, changes the dynamics of employees perceptions of their leaders. How many solutions have you tried is a great way of suggesting that they have not yet find the right solution, and even better might be to  point someone in the right way by offering them a resource to go to, or providing a mentor to support their development into a solution. 

Leaders work through their people, so how a leader positively influences them is the success of their leadership of that person. Developing a variety of ways to influence people is a key skill of leaders in today's world. having a variety of ways and tools to influence people requires leaders to keep learning how to influence people to drive and support them to do try and do new things. 

Leaders must therefore build an effective management team around them who can deliver that vision. Developing an effective team is vital if a leader is to succeed. 

Leadership is about being future-focused, hence the requirement to create and sustain your inspiring vision as a leader.  Leaders are always looking forwards, assessing tomorrow's market, where and how it is changing and then engineering the business to exceed within tomorrow's business environment. 

Leaders are visionary architects, focusing on the big picture and the long-term future. It is for others, the management to do the building. Leaders create the problem, here is where we are going and why, now get us there. It is for the managers and Senior Leadership Team  (SLT) to develop the execution.   As your business grows and you have employees it has different needs of you. The proportion of your time spent on doing is likely to need to decrease as the business grows.

Many business owners find it difficult to let go of the control and to pass on the operational doing to others enabling everyone to learn and grow. Letting go means that you are sustainable and thriving in your own role as the leader and are able to create the conditions for others to thrive as your business grows.

When you create the time to lead you are able to stand back from being involved in doing and identify what the business needs to continue to be successful in the future. Thinking about the challenges ahead and orientating the business to take advantage (or avoid) of them is the ultimately role of a leader. 
Stepping up as a leader first requires you to trust yourself and secondly to trust others to deliver instead of doing it all yourself. Doing less and being more is a mindset which leaders must develop. As you build trust in the capability of the person you are empowering and as they become more confident in the task they are being empowered to do, your involvement will become less. This frees you up to grow as a leader and add more value to the business.

Having a growth mind-set is key to sustainable leadership. If you and your people don’t continue to grow as the business grows there will come a stage where the business has out grown your capabilities. So making time to be coached and to coach your people so that they develop and grow creating the space for you to grow is vital. 
As a leader you need to take people on the journey with you in such a way that they feel they have played their part and that the outcome is one of mutual success. 

Change is emotional. It is often seen as a threat so people go into fight, flight or freeze modes, and many employees will resist change. Your job as a leader is to connect with them at an emotional level and help them to identify their own reasons as to why the change is necessary. Move everyone forward , not just the laggards, but the whole body forward together, so that they can all see the trajectory that they need to follow. 
So as your business grows are you doing less and being more, if so you maybe on your way to be a successful leader.

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