Saturday, 22 March 2008

Business Leadership

What's your leadership style?

1: Just do it.
2: Do it, then inform me what you did.
3: Tell me what you are going to do, then do it.
4: Tell me what you want to do and wait for a decision.
5: Don't do anything without my approval.
6: Don't do anything unless I tell you to.

If I were to mark these styles for efficiency, 1 would be the highest and 6 the lowest. Styles 5 and 6 are very common in business. The employees priority is payday, closing time and holidays. Leader priority is power, control and keeping things as they are. Getting things done and serving the customer is not important to anyone. Once basic skills are mastered, employees follow standard procedures, and any deviation from these procedures is to be avoided at all costs.

Nowadays, the mantra should be change, change and more change. Change is the challenge, which can motivate us and secure our futures. Because of fast-changing customer requirements and technology, we all have to evolve on a daily basis. To maintain flexibility, responsibility has to move away from senior leaders to the front line, otherwise our businesses will stagnate and die out. Following orders without question is efficient in the short term, but costly in the long-term.

Leadership and training must work hand-in-hand. If we want our colleagues to assume responsibility and make quality decisions, we must create environments that encourage the opportunity to learn. 

So when one of your colleagues comes over and asks you for a decision. Rather than spoon-feeding them, consider how you can help them to make the correct decision. Your colleague might be frustrated that they have to keep coming to you for decisions. Give them their control back, so you can concentrate on moving the business forward.

So don't control.... Coach!

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