Good communication should never give potential cause for offence.
“The difference between mere management and leadership is communication” Sir Winston Churchill.
There is a strong argument that in the age we currently live in where the act of communicating has never been easier we are losing the art of communicating, the skill of listening and the ability to reflect before responding; all of which are key elements to being a successful leader. Successful leaders generally enjoy communicating, they have a natural inquisitiveness and interest in what other people think. This will become increasingly important in the changing world we live in, the ability to rise to the top by just being able and good at managing tried and tested processes will no longer be appropriate, and where it does happen those businesses are likely to find it more difficult to “survive and thrive”.
A business leader is one who has a clear vison for the future, then builds a motivated team and inspires them to achieve the vision. If you accept that a motivated and engaged employee is of greater benefit to a business than a demotivated and disengaged employee then the following statistics make sobering reading and are a poor reflection on the general quality of our leadership, the positive you can take from it is if you work on and take your leadership responsibilities seriously it should make it easier for you to build the team you want. The following stats are from Cleverism:
- Highly engaged employees were 87% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts.
- 3 out of 4 people who leave their jobs of their own will, aren’t quitting their jobs but their bosses.
- Only 40% of the workforce were aware of their company’s goals, tactics and strategies.
- Organisations with greatly engaged employees accomplish double the annual net returns of those where the employees are not so well engaged (as per analysis of 64 organisations).
It is probably fair to assume that every disengaged, unhappy employee who leaves an organisation is unlikely to talk well of the organisation. As for the disengaged and unhappy ones that stay not only are they probably not going to be the best ambassadors of the business but they are also likely to have a fairly negative impact on the other staff.
The madness of the situation is, that whilst the cost of poor leadership to an organisation can be huge, the actual salary cost to the company is the same whether you have good leadership and an engaged labour force or bad leadership and a disengaged labour force, having spent the money you might at least strive to get the best possible return on it.
Team building has become an industry in itself, some of what is on offer can seem a little excessive for some businesses considering it for the first time. A reasonable starting point is to establish and clarify exactly what it is you want to achieve, then you have a better chance of choosing the right course. An inexpensive and very effective team building exercise is going through a formal process using a facilitator with a tailored program specifically for your business to relay your messages, values and strategic objectives to your employees whilst at the same time getting honest and constructive feedback and getting buy-in to the actions that are needed to achieve the corporate goals and objectives. The pay back can be disproportionate to the costs and it can provide you with not only valuable information to improve the appraisal process of your staff but invaluable information about yourself as a leader.
Personal development plans and appraisals are now common place in most businesses, the key here is to make sure that you perform them as a genuine process to aid development and not just as a “tick box” exercise.
If leadership is about getting those that you are leading to do what is right with a smile on their face and a spring in their step, then the words of Hussein Nisahah is not a bad place to start: “Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to. Respect is earned not given.” Please note that to get people to do what is right may be different from getting people to do what you want! Developing a “culture” of respect could well become a standard aim of every progressive business and help solve what may become one of the biggest challenges to businesses, keeping the staff that they have invested in to ensure that they receive a return on their investment.
The one totally unequivocal fact of business life is that if you employ people you will always get a better return on what you spend on your staff if they are supportive of you and what you want done as opposed to just doing it for the pay cheque. Whether you are leading from the top of the company or leading a team with in the company you will be playing a key part in whether the employees who are under your guidance look forward to coming to work or count the minutes away to when it is time to leave work. Every £1 you spend on salaries is an investment in the business, but once the time has passed all you have left is the attitude of the employee, you are still paying them so it makes sense to ensure that you are getting the best possible return by having motivated employees who are for you rather than against you.