Monday, August 26, 2013

Top Tips to Leadership Skills

Leadership Forum Sept 2012
Leadership Forum Sept 2012 (mylearning)
by Tim Reed, 21st Century News:

From the largest enterprise to the smallest start-up, the most successful businesses are not just well managed - they are well led, writes MYOB CEO Tim Reed.

Becoming an employer for the first time can be a real roller coaster, especially in a newly established business or one that is expanding to take on its first employees.

To be successful in managing staff and in inspiring them to achieve your business aims along with their personal goals, think long and hard about what sort of leader you want to be. Running a business means taking on a lot of roles.

One of the most challenging and rewarding roles is building and managing a team. In my experience, a highly effective team can be the cornerstone to a successful enterprise and the key to a highly effective team is a great manager. This often involves learning on a pretty steep curve.

Fundamentally, the best employers think about how they want to lead people rather than micromanage them. They strive to engage, inspire, communicate and collaborate with staff, bringing out the best in them on the way to achieving shared goals, rather than dictating.

Many start-ups and smaller business owners find it difficult to hand over certain responsibilities to their employees. Avoiding falling into the ‘I have to do it all myself’ trap can make all the difference to business growth and development, as well as being the key to a positive, engaged team.

As the team development cycle progresses, the best management approach moves from a directive one through coaching and supporting, and into effective delegating. MYOB’s key principles for business leadership.

1. Communicate

One of the key traits great leaders have in common - in every walk of life - is the ability to clearly communicate a vision and communicate it often. This is particularly true when leading a team.

It’s vital they understand exactly what you want to achieve and can visualise the steps that need to be taken to make it possible. At MYOB, our vision is to make business life easier for our clients, and our company values reflect and adhere to that vision.

Divisional, departmental and individual goals flow down from that singular purpose. If you can paint a big-picture vision for the business and get employees excited about the journey, tying their role to the company succeeding, that’s half the battle.

They will understand their part in kicking goals - whether that’s driving outcomes that lead to revenue growth, having the widest social media presence in the industry, achieving the best customer service scores or something else entirely.

2. Demonstrate

The best leaders also lead by example. Having a deep understanding of all aspects of the business helps immensely in building the right paths to relevant communication with each of your team members and allows you to identify any problem areas.

One of the best ways to ensure employees understand what they need to achieve is to demonstrate the task and the process required. To highlight any potential misunderstandings, ask them to explain their understanding of the task in their own words.

It’s also a great way to test and develop processes in a real-world environment, giving opportunity for improvement, and it’s an opportunity to improve your own communication style. Many business owners become their own boss because they have a real passion for what they do.

By demonstrating how you want things done, modelling behaviours you’ve found to be successful and celebrating the wins, you get a chance to share that passion with your staff.

3. Collaborate

A good leader recognises that great ideas can come from anywhere. Your team should be empowered to share ideas and given plenty of opportunity to add value to what they do - innovation breeds success.

Sharing ideas and collaborating across the business can be a fantastic way to gain significant increases in productivity and performance.

Creating both formal and informal processes to regularly discuss business improvements not only engages employees, it gives you an opportunity to regularly update them on progress towards your joint goals.

4. Celebrate

Celebrating achievements is also the mark of a great leader. Few businesses achieve real success on the work of just one person; regularly acknowledging that goes quite some way to ensuring your team remains engaged.

Recognising the role the whole team played in achieving any milestone, while ensuring those who made a key contribution are given special praise, both motivates staff and builds a strong team culture.

Ensure there are regular opportunities to celebrate success and that milestones (i.e. employee anniversaries, financial year-end, etc) are marked wherever possible. Like everything in business, becoming a great leader is a process of constant development.

But you don’t have to work in isolation - choose the business leaders that really inspire you, and learn whatever you can from their leadership style. Then, as your business grows, build a team of leaders around you.
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