Leadership by Marc van Heerden

A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.”

– Ecclesiastes 7:1

Leadership in all areas is a critical and criticized position. It is a required position to generate order and structure within a community or company; yet it is a serving role which needs to consider large groups of people where there will be a cacophony of opinions and ideas that will challenge the vision of the group.

What does this mean? Simply put, you cannot satisfy everyone’s opinions. I have spent a great deal of time seeking to be a people-pleaser, trying to achieve this unreachable balance in large groups; but to no avail. Unfortunately people do not necessarily have the same intention from their side and you would quickly become a victim of your kindness.

Is it necessary to become a person closed off to ideas and opinions; and only endeavour on the original plan creating a breakdown in communication between leadership and the people? The answer to that is a huge “NO”.

The best way forward is to always treat each person’s idea and voice with respect. Give them time to share their thoughts. As a leader, your role is not only critical to drive a group or business forward; but you are primarily there to allow the people to connect with the company’s vision and expected performance by allowing people to achieve the outcome of the company through their way. 

Allowing staff to contribute with their ideas toward a company’s vision is far more powerful than instilling a doctrine or way of thinking from a hierarchy down. When the staff contribute then they are identifying their abilities and using their strengths to generate a plan to achieve a goal. This allows responsibility and ownership to be shared amongst the people, making the achievement their own and not the company’s.

Unfortunately, many corporates and larger companies have lost these leadership skills as they have endorsed hierarchy ideas to lower structured staff. This style of enforced leadership is somewhat of a dictatorship and doesn’t allow staff to use the resources and abilities available to them. That is often why staff are frustrated by corporations and larger companies. This is the same reason why staff morale would be low. Morale can be lifted by creating a sense of inclusion. If staff feel included then they generate a sense of belonging and a sense of pride. However, if leadership were to continue with a sense of dictatorship approach then it creates distance between the employee and the company resulting in exclusion. Staff begin to feel like just another cog in the machine of the company.

Leaders set the tone of the company and are critical to achieving positive outcomes for the company. Leaders can make or break a company with their approach. If leaders endorse an inclusive leadership approach then people will be far more productive and enjoy their work. Complaints will dwindle and efficiencies will become the normality. With efficiencies comes streamlining of business’ and you would require fewer staff to complete a task or operation. Now bear this in mind; it would not be necessary to retrench staff. Why would you want to let trained staff go? It would drive your costs up in order to train more staff and let us not forget about the concern of staff morale. Instead; allow the staff to grow with the company. Retain the staff without employing more staff, but naturally growing the existing staff into new roles and employing when and where it proves to be necessary.

To do this approach goes against the normality of corporate which means you would not necessarily be popular; however the long-term fruit of the initiative will have long lasting benefits to come and people will be eager to be a part of a team where their voice can be heard.

Your reputation is the aroma that precedes you. It is how people perceive you to be before having met you. If you were to review your aroma; what would it be saying about you?

Article Source: Business Talk

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