In terms of your business growing and developing, one of the most important things you need to focus on is your leadership team. Leaders can influence the rest of your staff, positively or negatively. If a manager is well respected, others may try and emulate their way of working. But if someone in leadership isn’t good at their job, they may create a company culture that reflects their worst traits.
The question is, how can you ensure that your leadership team is a positive force within your organisation? And can you help them reach their full potential? Overall, if you want to get more from your business, you need to get more from your employees, particularly the leadership team.
If you’re looking to get the best out of your management team, we’ve explored some of the best ways to do this below:
1. Find the Right People
The most important factor when it comes to developing a strong leadership team is selecting the right people for the job. When hiring and promoting leaders, don’t rush into a decision. The better fit a candidate is for the role, the more likely they are to succeed.
You should also try to embrace diversity with leadership roles. People with different backgrounds, thought processes and opinions will bring different things to the table. Although it might be easier to just hire people who think like you, a more diverse team will challenge your thinking, and can result in greater creativity and innovation.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that, where possible, you should try and promote your leaders from within the business. If other staff see that internal promotions are the norm, they too will be motivated to push themselves and perform to a higher standard, with the aim to progress. In terms of the individual who has been promoted, as they will have come up through the ranks and know the business and culture already, they won’t need much training and will already be committed to the company.
2. Set Clear Goals
If you don’t have a direction in which you want to head, your business is unlikely to go very far. You thus need to set clear, achievable goals, for the company as a whole, as well as for your team leaders. Plot a course, with performance targets along the way, that is shared amongst the entire organisation, so that everyone knows where to best direct their efforts.
When setting goals, it can be sensible to use the SMART criteria. This stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. Using this criteria, you can discuss business and individual targets with your management team, making sure that everyone is on the same page.
3. Embrace Autonomy
Some executives are scared of a fully autonomous workforce, in case this takes them down a path they weren’t expecting. But autonomy within business can be a good thing. When people are trusted to get on with their work, they are more likely to be more productive and loyal to the company.
When it comes to letting your leadership team be independent and accountable, if you let them handle their duties and responsibilities in their own way, and encourage them to empower their teams in a similar manner, the results should speak for themselves. This level of trust across the board will almost certainly lead to a team that is collaborative and supportive of one another.
4. Invest in Growth
As your leadership team will have already progressed within their careers, you can probably assume that they wish to continue climbing the career ladder. So how do you support them in this? The best way is to set up a professional development programme, which focuses on leadership training. This sort of programme will give your managers the tools they need to perform to the best of their ability.
Truly great leaders are constantly working to improve themselves, learning from past experiences and from their colleagues around them. You can facilitate this by encouraging ongoing training via mentorship programmes, courses, or informal sessions. This is a relatively small investment that can lead to significant returns.
5. Celebrate the Wins
If you want your leaders to flourish, you need to acknowledge their successes. You’ll therefore have to pay attention to those who are performing exceptionally well, and setting the best example. Show your appreciation and reward these individuals for their hard work - this doesn’t have to be a completely monetary reward. Try and find a perk that would be meaningful to the person, such as an experience day or a voucher for a particular shop.
By putting a spotlight on the leaders who are going above and beyond, you should encourage this behaviour in others. We all like to be recognised, so celebrating big or small achievements will likely motivate others to follow suit.