Are you a leader? Leadership is not just being the best at providing what your company sells. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things,” Peter F. Drucker. In addition to all of the responsibilities of ownership, establishing culture and setting a good example by living the company’s values are very important leadership actions that an owner must master with intent. Otherwise the prevailing culture, unintentionally created when related parties observe, interpret, and emulate the owner’s actions, may not contribute to the long term health and goals of the organization.
Your staff, your customers, your vendors and your partners are watching. How you approach and handle each and every situation sends out signals, intentional or not, on what your company stands for and its values. When you are impatient in meetings, find scapegoats for problems or blow-off customers or suppliers, you are setting a tone of acceptance and indicating how your company will approach each of those situations. Conversely, when you pull otherwise quiet and introspective employees into discussions which will impact them (not just allowing the “largest” personality in the room to steer the conversation), serve on committees of local charitable organizations or schedule meetings with vendors to review upcoming projects for effective coordination, you are once again sending a clear message to all involved.
Setting the tone within your company should be a conscious effort that you consistently review and change, if necessary. Company culture can be approached similarly to quality programs in which we monitor our environment: if we find undesirable circumstances we should be begin the “wheel” of constant improvement. Review (define) the situation, measure (deviation from desired situation), analyze (include possible causes), propose solutions based on analysis, agree on plan of action, monitor the results (refine and adjust), and then repeat. A methodical process may be of great value to some, while others will have more ad hoc approaches, just as long as the desired state is achieved.
Questions to ask yourself about your leadership style and behavior:
Do you invest in yourself (training, education or industry trade group)?
Do you balance your work and home life?
Do you share information about business results with your staff?
Can you and/or do you trust people inside or outside of your organization?
These are merely thought starters to begin the assessment of your leadership status and its impact on your business.
Critical Mistake #2 is a part of Personal Effectiveness as we refer to it in our practice. Please don’t hesitate to contact The Executive Influence for a confidential discussion about your situation – we have helped many successful business owners and leaders lighten their burdens and we can help you, too!