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Getting Your Organization Where You Want It To Go
PROVIDE LEADERSHIP ACROSS AN ORGANIZATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. COMMUNICATE MISSION AND GOALS TO THE WORKFORCE
- Clarify objectives, values and standards in accordance with the organizations strategic direction
- Establish linkages between organizational objectives, values and standards and the responsibilities of relevant groups and individuals
- Ensure media and language used is appropriate to individuals and group circumstances
- State clear expectations of internal groups and individuals and explain in a manner which builds commitment to the organisation
- Address expectations of the organisation
- Investigate incidents promptly and communicate results clearly to relevant groups and individuals
3. METHODS AND ETHICS USED TO INFLUENCE GROUPS
- Build trust, confidence and respect of diverse groups and individuals, through positive role modelling, and effective communication and consultation
- Embrace, resource and effectively implement improvements to organizational and workplace culture
- Demonstrate understanding of the global environment and new technology in work activities
- Ensure actions convey flexibility and adaptability to change and accessibility
- Ensure consultation and participation in decision making occurs with relevant groups and individuals where appropriate
- Ensure decision making takes into account needs and expectations of both internal and external groups
- Ensure decision making occurs in accordance with risk management plans for all options, and within appropriate time frames
- Ensure that the organisation is represented positively in the media and community
4. BUILD & SUPPORT WORK TEAMS
- Assign accountabilities and responsibilities to teams consistent with their competencies and operational plans
- Ensure teams are resourced to allow them to achieve their objectives
- Empower teams and individuals through effective delegation and support for their initiatives
- Create and maintain a positive work environment
- Encourage teams and individuals to develop innovative approaches to the performance of work
5. PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE
- Model ethical conduct in all areas of work and encourage others to adopt business ethics
- Adapt appropriate interpersonal and leadership styles to meet particular circumstances and situations
- Set and achieve personal objectives and work program outcomes
- Ensure self-performance and professional competence is continuously improved through engagement in a range of professional development activities
- Participate regularly in industry/professional networks and groups
Whether you run a country, a large organisation or a small operation without leadership you are without a driving force or strategic direction.
Many of our great leaders displayed great leadership ability. Eisenhower made great statements in his time however the below statement is the one that means the most to me and is the driving force behind my personal leadership.
Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
This article answers questions about Leadership and the steps that can be taken to empower individuals as leaders. The article contains real life decisions made in a real organisation however many of the tools used have not been taught by formal education and you will find that leadership is more of a way of life rather than a simple process.
Leadership contains multiple processes which can be taught however I believe true great leaders are built by experience not education.
Go to the people. Learn from them.
Live with them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have.
The best of leaders when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will say we have done it ourselves.
2. COMMUNICATE MISSION AND GOALS TO THE WORKFORCE
Clarify objectives, values and standards in accordance with the organizations strategic direction
Through staff induction we ensure that each of our new employees receive our Company Handbook which includes each of these three documents. The new employee’s team-leader takes the employee through the handbook and given the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback based on each of the topics. This is done as it forms an instant bond and understanding between the employee and their first point of call in the organisation.
In each of my companies we have a Mission Statement, a Company Creed and a Culture statement which is in line with our Strategic Plan. To create what I call ‘Buy-In’ I believe you must give clarity to those with the desired values the strategic direction of the organisation.
I found that simply writing these documents was not enough I needed ‘Buy-In’. I felt that I could provide a basic structure and a basis behind these things however I needed the staff to write them and believe in them. We surveyed our existing employees and created focus groups which developed a final set of statements which became our companies Mission, Creed and Culture.
Establish linkages between organizational objectives, values and standards and the responsibilities of relevant groups and individuals
One of my favorite statements is ‘Managers need to manage their staff however staff also need to manage their manager’. A leader does not have to have a title, the stature has no bearing. A leader just is, despite their title or duties.
We speak about diversity in the workplace however a true leader will understand that there is massive diversity in the world – the best diversity policies will need to be modified over time as not one organisation has met every personality, value or moral. The best leaders will understand that they need to be flexible where a policy may not. My company leaders are encouraged to apply our mission, creed and culture in situations where policies may become unclear and report the policy shortfall.
My teams are encouraged to see the organisation as their own and if they identify something that doesn’t work, do their best to fix it but not to the detriment of their existing duties. If it will add unnecessary pressure they are to report it to their point of call who will delegate it to someone who is more appropriate. We strive for congruence through the organisation and this can only be done with appropriate linkage between Job Descriptions, Policy, Empowerment and Leading by Example.
Ensure media and language used is appropriate to individuals and group circumstances
I am in a fortunate position. I have been in every role that my organisation has. My number-one rule is “Treat and speak with others the way that I would like to treated or spoken with” or better still – “sell an idea to others in the way that I would buy it”.
The advantage I have is that I understand and recall the benefits and shortfalls of each of the roles and offer an intelligent support for each of my employees either directly or indirectly. When you understand the positives you can draw on these and emulate them, when you understand the shortfalls you can empathize and offer solutions in overcoming them. Each group or individual is different however I have found that the positives and shortfalls are generally common. The wearer of many hats is a very diverse person.
State clear expectations of internal groups and individuals and explain in a manner which builds commitment to the organisation
Goal, Mission and Strategic congruence can only be gained if each employee has the same end in mind. It is important that there is clarity. My favorite exercise is a backwards plan. Have the goal in mind and plan the steps leading toward the goal. It is important to document these steps and place an appropriate timeframe on each step. Each step should be flexible however should also be kept to a timely manner.
In each focus group, social club, team or project group I have found that an appointed Group Leader is required. Each backward plan is submitted to the Group Leader for review to ensure the task will be on target and that the strategy is adhered to. This is important whether this is a short-term project or the daily duties of an employee.
Prior to the backward plan each member of the group needs clear and concise direction of their role in the group or Organisation. This should be documented and depending on the length of the project may be implemented in the Job Description of the group member/employee. If the backward plan is in reference to Key Performance Indicator regarding a daily duty i.e. if a telemarketer’s role is to book appointments and the telemarketer isn’t making the desired amount of calls over a day, you may break the day into four different sections and give the telemarketer a smaller target over each section – potentially between breaks. I have found that this appears to be more achievable and instant satisfaction can be a better motivator for some over others.
I have found it to be best practice to detail the aim of the project, each element required and the responsibility of the elected employee/group member. The project and should be discussed in both a group forum and a one on one format with each of the employees. This can be completed by either group training or through one on one effective performance management.
Address expectations of the organisation
In a perfect world, we could – at induction address expectations of the organisation and all employees would adhere and follow these. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and different situations call for different actions. The best we can do is identify the common denominators based on historic data and common sense and apply them in our induction, ongoing training and company policy.
It is often important to cover policy and strategies frequently with all parties involved. Sometimes this is due to change but other times it is due to reinforcement. Like a fire evacuation drills – to ensure safety to all parties these must be practiced. If breaking policy was lethal the government would enforce mandatory policy testing.
The thing about common sense is that it is seldom common. As leaders we will over time need to interpret policy and common sense. Decision making is important and clarity is important when interpreting policy and guidelines. All leaders should be held at a higher standard if they are to be expected to apply interpretation to policy.
Investigate incidents promptly and communicate results clearly to relevant groups and individuals
It is vital when policy, strategic direction, company goals and or missions are not adhered to that they are identified and dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner. Dependent on the severity of the breach determines the best course of action.
It is equally important when the extra mile is taken regarding these things that appropriate recognition is given. Negative feedback should always be given in private and Positive feedback should mostly be done in public i.e. Dependent on the employees personality determines whether recognition should be public or private as some personality traits incur some embarrassment when praised in public. This can drive the wrong behavior in the future in the fear that the employee would be embarrassed.
Based on policy and the type of breach formal proceedings may be commenced. We have found that for minor breaches a verbal warning is generally appropriate for first offences followed with written warnings. As a good leader these policies apply without prejudice. Giving one employ a warning and not another for the same offence not only opens the organisation to legal ramifications but also potential morale issues. The same applies to positive reinforcement, if one employee receives a commendation for effort or adherence to policy another employee with the same results should also be commended either formally or informally depended on company policy.
3. METHODS AND ETHICS USED TO INFLUENCE GROUPS
Build trust, confidence and respect of diverse groups and individuals, through positive role modeling, and effective communication and consultation
Trust, confidence, respect, positive role modeling, effective communication and consultation are all essential elements of influencing groups and individuals in an ethical manner.
Trust is generally earned not demanded. Those who demand trust don’t ever fully receive or offer it. Leadership often includes the willingness to do any job that you expect another to do. If you wouldn’t do it how can you expect another person to do it? Some employers believe that a wage is enough however to gain the confidence of staff it is important to “get your hands dirty” some of the time.
Due to cultural diversity we must understand the difference between ethics and morals. In short, Ethics; involve knowing what is right and wrong and making a choice, Morals; is knowing what is right and wrong and simply doing what is right – there is no choice. We don’t all have appropriate morals nor can we 100% identify a person that has morals. As leaders we must role model ourselves and teach ethics by living and breathing best practice in all situations.
Based on our experiences, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs and upbringing (to mention a few) we may not always see eye to eye on things and interpret events differently. It is important to respect different views in which we may not understand or agree with as long as they don’t interfere with policy.
Embrace, resource and effectively implement improvements to organizational and workplace culture
The definition of culture
Anthropology- the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.
Culture is made collectively over time and not by an individual and so – must be embraced, resourced and improvements implemented by all. We can do this through consultation with the staff, monitoring performance and morale.
As leaders in the organisation it is our responsibility to identify areas of improvement and suggesting them in a democratic environment to others in our group or culture. Our way of life on a social and economic level suggests that democracy will generally involve a majority rules philosophy. The delivery of changes to minorities is the key to good leadership. It is important to gain ‘Buy-In’.
A great technique I have used in the past is to speak with a couple of group members in advance, generally a loud vocal person who probably disagrees with everything and ask for their help in getting the idea over the line. Load the group in your favor, when others agree it is difficult for those who sit on the fence to not gain ‘Buy-In’.
Demonstrate understanding of the global environment and new technology in work activities
The possibility of career progression is important for all employees. All employees bring new skills to an organisation and some are never identified. Promoting ingenuity assists in the realization of the skills your team members have that may not have displayed in the past.
The need for technology is important as all organizations are making improvements on an ongoing basis so to keep a competitive advantage requires new technology and new intelligence in an Organisation
It is wise to constantly look for improvements and I have found that the resource most commonly able to identify improvements is the people doing the work. As a leader we must ensure that we actively listen to our team as it is the team that follow through with our processes and are most likely able to identify areas for improvement.
Ensure actions convey flexibility and adaptability to change and accessibility
All actions in business should be ‘POLM’ (Plan, Organize, Lead, Manage) based. All activities need to be monitored despite the length of time they have been in use. There is no place for rigidness in any process or organisation unless it is legislation based.
The continual need for improvement attribute in leaders should be encouraged. All policies should be flexible and adaptable as change is inevitable in all organizations. When policies and procedures are outdated organizations fall out of line with social standards and legal requirements.
Equal opportunity has changed over the last few decades. In today’s commercial environment despite age, gender, sexuality and even experience in some cases it has become socially and legally required to offer opportunity to all capable individuals. If policy or leaders do not comply with what is now acceptable – it is considered unacceptable. All leaders must be flexible and have the end goal in mind at all times and limit personal feelings regarding individuals.
When identifying and communicating problems I have found the best leaders already have solutions in mind. This is a typical demonstration of flexibility and forward thinking in leadership.
Ensure consultation and participation in decision making occurs with relevant groups and individuals where appropriate
Any parties concerned with the outcome of a decision, whether they be employees, middle management or key stake holders each should be involved in the decision making process. It is not always commercially viable or appropriate to involve all parties in the final decision however depending on the level of impact on affected parties each should be involved.
This is generally performed in our organisation through staff forums, team meetings, one on ones and confidential surveys. It is rare that all parties will agree with decisions made however it is important to maintain a level of consultation so all parties can feel heard.
Ensure decision making takes into account needs and expectations of both internal and external groups
Consideration and foresight are tools that can assist in avoiding major mistakes in decision making. Running simulations based on historic or forecasted data is the best way of identifying possible future problems with any decision making. Decision making generally involves change and at times there may be no historic data which makes it quite difficult to project possible scenarios.
A SWOT analysis will generally give you an opportunity to identify obvious Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Once on paper and in front of you other not so obvious scenarios become available to you.
Ensure decision making occurs in accordance with risk management plans for all options, and within appropriate time-frames
Once you have identified threats through the SWOT analysis you can apply risk management to any scenarios you have put together. It is only then that you can truly apply risk management. It is vital that with any implementation that the monitoring of statistics, morale and performance occurs.
Prior to implementation, time frames and projected results should be decided upon. If forecasts are not being met or there is a dramatic cultural change you should have a backup plan to either revert back to the previous method or have a modification in mind based on threats you have identified prior to implementation.
Ensure that the organisation is represented positively in the media and community
Social governance and acceptability is vital for a successful work environment. When employees are not comfortable coming to work – they won’t!
We must also have a good reputation with a number of social networks including but not limited to Job Networks and the local geographical area as recruitment is important to all businesses.
When communicating with the public your message should be honest and have integrity whether you are recruiting or selling a product or service.
4. BUILD & SUPPORT WORK TEAMS
Assign accountabilities and responsibilities to teams consistent with their competencies and operational plans
A job description exists to give a staff member a guideline to the role they are employed to do. Responsibilities are generally quite broad however a good job description will include reference to training and procedure manuals that will identify more detailed tasks.
Targets and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are generally assigned to job roles based on KRA’s (Key Result Area’s) and can alter from month to month dependent on how they are measured. If a month consists of more working days then generally a higher expectation of results would be expected.
Accountabilities must fall in line with the key responsibilities of an individual or group’s job description or function. An individual or group cannot be held accountable for duties that they are not responsible for i.e. a receptionist cannot be held accountable for a bookkeeping mistake if he/she has no bearing on bookkeeping.
Ensure teams are resourced to allow them to achieve their objectives
Ensuring teams are resourced covers a number of different aspects.
Firstly, the tools required to complete a task is necessary. Providing the appropriate hardware, software, environment and supervision is mandatory.
Secondly, staff allocation. The staff must be allocated appropriately to complete tasks in appropriate timeframes. Two staff cannot complete a ‘ten staff project’ in the same time-frame.
Thirdly, the importance of training! Unless employees are trained appropriately on how to perform their tasked in line with expectations they cannot be expected to perform their duties in line with company policy.
Empower teams and individuals through effective delegation and support for their initiatives
Personal, Business and Cultural growth is developed through empowerment of others through effective delegation. As a business grows there is a need for personal growth in employees as it is often the case that promotion is done to cope with increased need for management and supervision.
Hiring externally is sometimes necessary however where possible it is better to offer the opportunity to an existing employee. Before this can occur it is wise to develop existing staff whilst in their current positions however with additional duties and decision making capabilities.
Through initiatives like this it is important to monitor carefully the progress and support decisions made with the intention to coach if poor decisions are made and recognize and reward good decisions. Like all roles delegation comes with training and supervision if the task is certain to be carried out successfully. In our organisation we prefer to take small steps leading into more responsibility.
Create and maintain a positive work environment
Consistency, visibility and clear targets along with a friendly, productive culture create the basis for a positive work environment. In our industry we deal with the most negative situations on a daily basis. We must go the extra mile within our industry.
We have more frequent ‘fun’ days which may consist of a theme or guest visitor. It is important to allow the staff to be involved in preparation or in planning these types of events. Management consistently has a presence in the work area so the staff members see the involvement and feel a part of the bigger picture. This cannot be underestimated and if having issues with performance this certainly cannot be overlooked.
Encourage teams and individuals to develop innovative approaches to the performance of work
Through empowering and delegation we have been able to see through the eyes of our frontline staff. Consulting and involving staff in important changes and initiatives has actually empowered our business. We have found a strategic goal that is congruent from frontline to directors and embraced ‘Buy-In’.
We have found that through some of the changes we have made through this consultation has strengthened our bond with our staff and they continue to bring further ideas on a daily basis.
Once faith and trust has been demonstrated to the staff the smallest appreciation statement is as valued by that staff member as any dollar value incentive.
5. PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE
Model ethical conduct in all areas of work and encourage others to adopt business ethics
I do and will continue to lead an ethical Organisation in a highly scrupulous industry. We are held in high stature with our clients and competitors due to our ethics and problem solving ability. We treat our clients with honesty and consultation and their customers with integrity and respect.
When hard decisions need to be met I ensure consideration all key stakeholders despite their level of affect or input.
When team member requires advice I give them the best advice not simply what will work for the business at the time, it must also be the best advice for their own growth. I allow the “penny to drop” for my staff by asking them to follow a process in identifying solutions. This generally consists of breaking down their questions and analyzing what they wish to know. I then offer scenarios which are similar and ask them to apply the question to the different scenarios. Generally they find the answer for themselves and can follow this process with other tasks. They are now empowered to make educated decisions.
I work with my team to assist in reaching the goal. I am a firm believer in supporting the team and that no question is a stupid question no matter how many times you need to ask.
Adapt appropriate interpersonal and leadership styles to meet particular circumstances and situations
When there are issues I believe it is important to help, this is how I believe we can truly lead by example. It is not always wise to fix every problem for people as they will never try and fix the problem for themselves. I have found teaching problem solving techniques allows ownership of problems and resource to resolve future issues. Simply fixing problems for employees demonstrates that when there is a problem they should come to you to resolve it. This is not good leadership.
I currently wear many hats, one day I may need to relate to a 17 year old inexperienced person and the next a 63 year old individual. Each employee requires a different approach or resolution. The methods are generally the same however your delivery or references may differ in the effort to relate to your employee. At times we have to sell concepts to staff for their ‘Buy-In’
Set and achieve personal objectives and work program outcomes
With most great Leaders time management and goal setting is a must. When a group of tasks are required to be completed in a time frame generally documenting a task list is an appropriate method to ensure achievement of goals and personal objectives.
It is often prudent to identify the benefits and liabilities behind either completing or not completing tasks. Once you can identify these things you can find the drive to take action despite the task at hand.
It is important that your goals and objectives are in line with the strategy direction and mission statement of the organisation.
Ensure self-performance and professional competence is continuously improved through engagement in a range of professional development activities
Further education and education upkeep is a must as a leader. In an ever-changing world or environment we must remain the source of leadership. Without current knowledge it is hard to lead effectively. We must change with the world or environment as it changes.
Most leaders strive and target themselves against previous best performance. When you give yourself and your team clear measurement tools such as KPI’s and KRA’s it is easy to measure performance. All roles can have KPI’s and KRA’s, whether you are a business owner, Director, Sales Manager or Frontline Worker.
As a CEO, not only do I look to improve myself but also look to improve my team. We all participate in further education whether it is internal training or external training.
Participate regularly in industry/professional networks and groups
There are a number of steps with personal and business development available. The problem with documented education is that it is mostly past tense. To obtain a strategic, competitive advantage we must look for new education. Industries are educators however they have “on the job” education.
It is important that we use a combination of documented education and industry identified solutions. Appropriate allocation of education is important and must remain ethical as far as intellectual property.
Networks are built over time and gain strength with longevity. It is important to consult with successful industry leaders. I have found that surrounding yourself with successful people attracts success.
Leadership consists of a number of trained applications along with an internal makeup of attributes.
Running any business, organisation or completing any multi-person tasks requires an individual to take control and delegate responsibility and accountability to group members. I have identified that allowing our environment to take control leaves any outcome as a possibility. If one truly wants to set a goal and have a desired outcome we must take lead and challenge the environment.
Decision making can only be done by a leader as a follower needs a decision to follow. Any decision, good or bad is better than no decision.
Great Leaders are flexible individuals who will consider many avenues prior to making decisions. They are consultative and open to others influence. They are not content unless moving forward toward a goal.
As a leader we must communicate our organization’s mission and goals to our workforce. Without understanding and clarity the mission cannot be followed with integrity. In the interest of best practice and reputation we must continually question our ethics and ensure that the right message is delivered through our mission and goals.
When building teams there must always be support mechanisms in place to allow communication to flow freely. Most missions refer to industry leadership and providing good service. Without good communication and support mechanisms we cannot ensure that each individual understands and adheres to our mission and goals.
We must always demonstrate our leadership by walking the walk. I have found that you manifest what you focus on and a great leader should be focused on the goal. To gain true organizational goal congruence each staff member or colleague must look up to and be inspired by their leaders and their mission as this is the essence of leadership and a certainty for success.
Involve your employees in business decisions, hand over small responsibilities and show them what it means to be a leader. Don’t allow your environment to control you, take action and lead the way. If you don’t have a mentor or someone who inspires you attend seminars of industry leaders. Learn about people and behavioral science, once you know what makes people tick then you can make them tick too.
By Ben Blanch
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