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Developing Your Leadership Skills

By Attitude, Blogpost, challenges, excellence, Goals, Leadership, management, mindset, opportunities

The business world is ever changing and is always moving forward. The only thing that remains constant is competition. You need to keep on improving to stay competitive. Staying stagnant is one sure way of getting left behind and eventually fading away from the market. A company needs to stay relevant to keep on growing. In order to maintain growth, the business owner needs to have the passion, vision and leadership to successfully lead his company to its goals.

Having excellent leadership skills is a must if you are the business owner. Having the passion, vision and great ideas are not enough if you cannot effectively lead your staff to a common goal. Yes, you can hire managers but they are most effective at their jobs at managing teams within the company. They will still look to you for guidance and advice. The company as a whole needs you to pave the way to success. In a competitive business world, you need to constantly develop your leadership skills to be able to keep up or stay ahead. You might be a natural leader but it does not mean you cannot improve.

Discipline

Practicing good discipline is a strong foundation in developing your leadership skills. Discipline in your professional and personal life is a must if you want to be an effective leader. This will also inspire your staff to be disciplined as well. Again, you are the leader and your employees not only look to you for guidance but for inspiration as well.

You can practice discipline by simply keeping appointments, showing up on meetings on time as well as ending them on time. On a personal level, you can develop this by getting up on time, committing to a weekly exercise routine and sticking to your diet. Little things like this can help you strengthen your discipline which you can then apply to on how you lead your organisation.

Keeping An Open Mind

What’s better than a good idea? An even better idea. Keep your mind open when in a meeting with your team. Do not feel threatened when someone has a better idea than yours. Embrace it and give it a chance to see how it works out. As I’ve mentioned before, the business world is always changing. New trends and methods are constantly being discovered on how to compete in the market. Keep on learning by being open to criticism and feedback.

Resolving Conflicts

An organisation is composed of people with different personalities. It is unavoidable that these different personalities will eventually clash with each other. Learn to resolve them by having personal meetings with the involved individuals. Do not ignore even small conflicts as this can worsen and will affect the company as a whole. If need be, you can re-assign them to different teams. Resolving conflicts will help you improve on how you deal with different types of people.

Characteristics Of Bad Leaders In Your Organisation That You Should Look Out For

By challenges, Blogpost, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, opportunities

One of your responsibilities as a leader is to look out for your team. As the leader, you are the driving force that motivates your team towards the company’s business goals. Achieving those goals will lead your company to growth and with growth comes the need for other leaders to help you manage your growing company. This is one of the realities that you will have to face when expanding your business. You cannot do everything alone. Even a small business needs people to manage the different aspects of the business. No matter how good you are, everybody has their limits and you are no exception. The sooner you understand that you need help managing your business, the sooner you will achieve your goals.

Hiring individuals to help you manage your team comes with a new set of challenges. One of them is unknowingly hiring bad leaders or leaders who develop bad habits over time. The damage that it can cause your company as a whole can be avoided or minimized if you are able to identify those characteristics as soon as possible.

Power Tripping

A good leader empowers not only those under him or his team but also others. A bad leader lets their position go to their heads. Instead of helping members of the team succeed they do the exact opposite – they boost their own self-worth at the expense of others. Leadership is about guiding and not exerting control over others.

Not Taking Accountability

Whether a project has a positive or negative outcome, a leader should always take responsibility. A good leader does not only take credit for positive results but also own up to negative results. It is easier to point fingers when a project does not go so well. The point is, bad leaders take the easy way out. Good leaders learn from bad experiences and make improvements in future projects.

Not Listening

I always stress the importance of communication when running a business. Think of your company as a team with a common goal. If there is no solid communication between the team members then progress towards your common goal would be painfully slow and inefficient. The leaders in your company should be the ones fostering open communication between themselves and their team. On the opposite end, bad leaders do not listen, do not give feedback or let others give their feedback.

Key Leadership Qualities

By Blogpost, challenges, Entrepreneurship, excellence, Goals, inspirations, Leadership, management, mindset, Success

A leader’s job is mostly about managing people, and a good business owner should also be a good leader. He or she should be able to effectively connect with his or her employees and be able to lead them down the correct path to achieve the company’s goals. The business owner might have great ideas and the passion to succeed but if the team or the staff are not willing to follow then the business won’t go far. As mentioned in my previous article, your top sales guy might not be a good leader. This also applies to business owners.

Running a company does not only mean implementing brilliant ideas and having the passion to run it. Managing people is also an integral part in running a company. Your staff is what keeps your business running on a daily basis. As the business owner, your staff looks up to you for guidance. Weak leadership can lead a company to ruin while a strong one leads to success. Just like implementing a leadership development plan for an employee, as a leader yourself, you can look to working on your own leadership skills to be able to properly connect with your team and efficiently run your business.

Communication

A leader should foster open communication with the team. Your staff or employees are the front liners of your business and they see things that are not seen by the upper management. You need that valuable information to be able to properly plan things out for your business. Allow your staff to speak out to gain insight at the base level. When communicating with the team, be as honest and clear as possible. This will help you gain their trust and confidence which in turn would also encourage them to be just as honest and clear with you. The key here is that excellent communication allows you to gain valuable information from the front line.

Live What You Preach

One great way of connecting with your team is to have strong ethics and living by them. This is all about earning your team’s respect. You can talk all day about doing the right things – but you need to walk the talk, and your subordinates will follow your example. Once you have their respect, they will stand by your every business decision. The less second guessing on every decision, the better chances of positive results.

Ask For Advice

It does not matter how well you know the industry, change is constant in business. Set your ego aside. You do not know everything. Ask for advice if you are not sure of something. Great leaders are always willing to learn new things and the easiest way to learn is to learn to ask questions.

Developing Leaders In Your Company

By Blogpost, challenges, Entrepreneurship, excellence, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, opportunities, purpose

As your business grows, you need to hire new people to sustain that growth. You need to build new teams or departments to handle the specific areas of the business. The hiring process itself can be challenging. This is especially true if you are looking for leaders to manage the teams. The hiring process when it comes to looking for leaders or managers can be more tedious compared to the hiring process for regular employees. This is because managers have bigger responsibilities within the company. They are responsible for the people under them and have to answer to the people above them.

To save time and resources, one approach that you can take is to hire within the company. The ability to hire homegrown talent can give your company that competitive edge in the market. But you just can’t give anyone the responsibilities of a manager or a leader. Most employees are often promoted because of their excellent performance with their jobs and not their leadership skills. What I’m saying is – your top sales guy might not be a good leader.

Recognize Potential

Keep on the lookout for individuals who go the extra mile. Leaders want to see how far they can go. Push people out of their comfort zones and see who will stand out. Great leaders can adapt to any situation and would still succeed or make the best out of the given situation. Do not forget to observe beyond their job related skills. Observe their behaviours and attitudes. Do they have the right mindset to manage a team? Do their colleagues look to them for advice? How are their people skills? If you can see the potential then you are on your way to finding a homegrown leader.

Opportunities for Development

If you are looking to grow your business, having a leadership development plan as part of your strategy is a good idea. A leadership development plan does not only involve training but hands on experience. Giving out challenging tasks and rotating jobs can help develop skills, improve confidence and will give a deeper insight into your business and your business goals. Get this plan started as early as possible because you’ll never know when you might need someone to manage a team.

Coach

As a leader yourself, impart your knowledge, values and experiences to the potential leaders in your organisation. Since they are part of your company, that knowledge will not go to waste and would not only benefit them, but also your business. Think of this as another type of investment. But remember, as the leader and the business owner, live what you preach and be honest when interacting your team.

Mistakes In Corporate Team Building

By Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, opportunities, purpose

A team building’s purpose is to improve trust within the team, increase communication, collaboration and motivate team members. This is one way for the team to just relax and relieve them of work-related stress. You must never forget that although your team is dedicated to their jobs they are still human beings who need a break every now and then.

Team building can also help foster friendships. Friendships within the team can help boost morale and performance within the team. A side effect of this is it builds trust, which is one of the goals of a well thought out team building. This trust can also extend to the manager or supervisor. Trust between the team and the one who manages it will help improve communications and in turn the performance. Improved communication will lead to better engagement. Better employee engagement will lead to reduced employee attrition. The point is, a well thought out team building has an overall positive impact in your organisation. You might already have some ideas for an awesome team building event but check out these things on what to avoid when planning a team building event.

Holding The Event In The Workplace

Holding the activity in the workplace is not a good idea. It beats one the purpose of the team building which is to relieve your staff of work related stress. Even if they are not doing any type of work during the activity, the workplace’s atmosphere can still give the impression to some of your employees that they are still working. It can be consciously or subconsciously. It can also come off as cheap and boring. Spice it up and go to a different venue. Anywhere but on-site.

No Goals In Mind

When planning a team building event, you must have a goal in mind. Think of one of the purposes of team building events. You can have activities centered around good communication or building trust. Maybe talk about your experiences with regards to the goal of the team building. As mentioned in one of my previous articles, spending resources on team building is like investing. Your company should be able to get something out of it in the future. A team building event without a goal is just a day off.

The Team Comes First

A team building event should be first and foremost, fun. Choose activities that cater to the members of the team. Maybe do a survey during the planning phase. Activities should be varied to cater to the different personalities of the team members. But do not forget that those activities should have a goal in mind.

Building High-Performance Teams That Will Last

By Attitude, Blogpost, challenges, excellence, Food for thought, Leadership, management

For the past few articles, I have been talking about building and managing high-performance teams. By definition, a high-performance team is a team that is highly focused on their goals and achieves superior results. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that having such a team is greatly beneficial to your business. With the right hiring and interview process, you would be able to pick out potential talented individuals that would make up your high-performance team.

Building a high-performance team is a challenge in itself. The same thing goes in managing one. They both take a lot of time and effort. In business, time is a valuable commodity. You have to make each time investment worth it. This is especially true when it comes to building or developing THE team for your company. By putting so much time and effort in this process, you as a leader should also make sure that the team will last. Think of it as one of your long term goals. The longer the team stays intact, the more milestones your company would be able to achieve.

Self Evaluation

Self evaluation is one of the characteristics of a good leader. You need to be aware of your leadership style. Ask yourself constantly if your leadership technique is effective. Are your techniques accepted by the team? Always bear in mind that a high-performance team is composed of individuals who have strong personalities and tend to do things their way. Modify or adjust your approach if need be but assure the team that the goals are still the same and you have accountability.

Give Feedback

It is your job as a leader to provide constant feedback. Do not wait for signs of trouble to show up before providing feedback. Do it regularly to make sure that everything is on track. It can be done informally if you want to be more relaxed. It really depends on the team you are leading. Each team is different and there is no cookie-cutter way of providing feedback. But one thing is for sure – constant feedback means continuous improvement.

Celebrate

This is very important for me. Celebrate success. The corporate and business world is tough. In this fast paced world, we sometimes forget to step back and reflect on what we have achieved and the journey we took to achieve them. Live the moment and remember what you and the team did to reach your goals. You’ll gain valuable knowledge and at the same time you get a breather from all that hard work.

Negative Team Culture To Watch Out For

By Blogpost, challenges, Food for thought, Goals, inspirations, Leadership, management, opportunities

A winning team culture can easily give your company that extra advantage over the competition. The team or corporate culture is one of the foundations of a strong business. This can greatly contribute on how fast you can achieve your goals or better yet, be a factor in your company’s longevity.

Take a look at today’s most successful and long running companies and examine their respective corporate cultures. You can probably see how similar their corporate team culture is to their brand image and the quality of their products. The corporate culture in one way or another reflects what the company’s image is.

A winning team culture is achievable by any organisation but does not come easy. A team culture is developed over time. It takes time, discipline and good leadership. A leader’s job is to encourage positive values and prevent negative ones. There are negative values that need to be stamped out before they can become deeply ingrained in your team.

Poor Communication

This is the easiest one to detect and is easily one of the most toxic. Poor communication goes against the very concept of a team. Communication between team members is essential if they are expected to work with each other to achieve their common goals. Poor communication stifles creativity and hinders great ideas from being implemented. This can also turn off high-performing members – causing them to quit and look for another company to work for. Give the team members the freedom to speak their minds. Encourage open communication but do not force. Just like any value you want to instill in the team culture, it takes time.

Micromanaging

Managing your team is indeed your job as the leader but do not overdo it. You hired these people because you are confident that they can do their jobs. This is what the hiring and the interview process is for. The fact that they are already employed means that you have already decided that they are the right people for the job at hand. Micromanaging can put your staff under unnecessary pressure and can stress yourself out. Whether it’s you or a person of managing position in your company, avoid micromanaging. Trust the team. Guide them but give them enough freedom to do what they do best.

Too Profit Focused

Ensuring that your company makes a profit is important but should not be the be-all and end-all. This can lead to aiming for short term results and focusing more on the bottom line. A profit focused culture can lead to poor employee engagement. Just like having a culture of poor communication, this can lead to individuals, possible high-performing individuals, leaving for another company. Strike for a good balance between profit and employee engagement. Remember, without employees, you cannot run a business.

Managing High-Performing Teams

By challenges, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, mindset, opportunities

You finally have the best of the best and have them working in the same team. You now have your go-to team for high priority tasks or projects. Your team can spearhead your organisation’s path to success. In short, you now have a high-performing team working for you. Having a high-performing team in a company is like having a Special Forces division in the military. These are the guys you go to if you want something done. As mentioned before, they are the best of the best.

Having a high-performing team in your organisation does not mean that you can go on auto-pilot mode. Teams are composed of people and not machines. People within an organisation still need to be managed by people one step above the corporate ladder. If you think about it, even machines need to be guided on how to effectively complete their tasks – but they are not as flexible as humans. As a leader, you might enjoy high productivity from high performing teams but you will also have the difficult task of dealing with varying attitudes from team members. There is also an issue with teams that follow their own rules. This is especially true with teams that have been working with each other for a long time. So how do you strike that balance between keeping the team in top form but at the same time have a semblance of managerial control?

Recognition

Give credit where credit is due. Recognize the team’s achievements. Even better, recognize individuals within the team that went one step beyond what is expected of them. Show everyone in the team how much you respect them and their work. This is after all, THE team in your organisation. Giving recognition not only boosts their morale but also serves as an inspiration to the rest of the company.

Accountability

One of the reasons why high-performing teams are able to achieve success is that they tend to do things their own way. Allow them to keep on doing what they do best, but make sure that they understand that it must be done within a reasonable time period and within the company budget. With this type of freedom, it is also important that they be held accountable for both successes and failures.

Balance

Challenge the team to think creatively but that creativity must be in service to the organisation’s mission and goals. Give them the freedom to choose which methods to go for but the objectives must be in line with the organisation’s goals.

Changing Your Team Culture for the Better

By challenges, Blogpost, Food for thought, habits, Leadership, management, opportunities, purpose

No company is perfect. Not even yours. There is always something to improve on. And that is a good thing. Those flaws keep you on your toes and if you have the right mindset for it and you love a good challenge every now and then, you can consider it as the fun part of running a business.

One aspect of the company that you can improve is the team culture. As I have mentioned in one of my previous articles, Building a Winning Team Culture, team culture is the sum of the beliefs, values and attitudes shared by the team members. Since a team is composed of different individuals with different personalities and attitudes, there is a tendency that bad habits will form overtime. It can start with one or two members and would then rub off onto their teammates thus becoming part of the team culture. If left unchecked, it can negatively affect the team and in turn your company. As the business owner, the challenge is to look out for these bad habits and change them. It is not easy to change a deeply ingrained habit in the team but it is never too late to change it.

Choosing What to Add or Change

Changing or adding a value in the existing team culture is a long process. It can take months or years depending on how deeply ingrained the value is. Since it can take a lot of time and effort, let’s make sure that those resources are not wasted. Carefully consider which value is worth adding or changing. Think how big of an impact it can make in the team. Ask yourself if adding or changing a value can come into conflict with some of the existing values in the team culture. Careful consideration and forward thinking are essential when making this decision.

Keep on Repeating

If you want a value to sink in to the team, you need to keep on repeating it. A team meeting is not the only way to remind the team, you can use different mediums to get the point across. You can use e-mail to talk about it or tell stories that are related to that value or habit. You can even build a company event around it. Be creative and fun when going about it. You may sound like a broken record, but you will achieve the results that you are aiming for.

Lead by Example

You are the leader and the team culture is not something that is posted on the wall or a fancy presentation. It’s your team’s core values and attitudes on how you face challenges. If you want the team to adopt a new value or remove an existing one, then you as the team leader should lead by example. Show them how you live by those values and how to apply them.

Qualities of a High-Performing Team

By challenges, Blogpost, Goals, Human resources, Leadership, management, opportunities

Recruiting the right people for your organisation is not the only thing that matters when running a business. Though it is one of the most important, you also need to evaluate your existing teams on how they are currently doing with their tasks.

Regularly evaluating team members can be beneficial especially if you have new business projects in mind and need a team to handle it. With a new project in the works, you could be tempted to recruit new people to handle the project. This is a tedious process which could cause setbacks with your existing projects. Through regular evaluations you would be able to determine if a certain team in your company can handle the new project. Not only does this save time in the recruitment process, you might not even need to recruit new employees. So before thinking of hiring new team members, look inside your own company. The team that you need could already be working for you.

Individual Strengths

A high-performing team is composed of different members with their own individual strengths. These qualities can be strategic thinking, smart decision making, creativity, organizational skills and excellent attention to detail, you name it. The best teams have enough talent diversity that when combined produce great results. It is your job as a leader to recognize these strengths and to take note of the results or what they have accomplished as a team. This would allow you to determine if that particular team can handle future special tasks for your company.

Team Trust

Members of a high-performing team trust each other. People in this team have a deep trust of each other’s abilities. They know that their teammates have what it takes to accomplish a given task and completely eliminates second guessing when faced with a challenge. They know that their colleagues are the best at what they do and would only need to worry about their own role in the team. A strong foundation of trust within the team also encourages the members to voice out if something needs to be attended to. This also allows them to freely bounce around ideas to help the team accomplish their goals.

Team Chemistry

A team might have the most talented members but if they don’t work well with each other, those talents are wasted. A high-performing team has a good team chemistry. Egos have no place in this team. Each member knows their weaknesses and have no problem asking for assistance. They are clear on how to work together and what their roles are. Every team member supports each other and work off each other. They have a clear understanding of what the plan is and what the goals are.