As a business owner with a growing workforce, I often reminisce of the days in the past when I lead a team but had a boss or employer to fall back on, to nowadays when I’m it. My team look up to me to guide and mentor them. There is no fall-back.
A leader from my formative years that remains a role model for me was the President and CEO of Royal Caribbean, Adam Goldstein. Adam was a very strong leader who has grown that business into what it is today, one of the top cruise companies in the world. Adam was, and is, very passionate about the cruise industry, and about Royal Caribbean, which was infectious and many employees to this day, remain ‘loyal to royal’. Not only that, he was approachable. He took time to talk with employees and he cared. That showed clearly in his communication, in his approach to staff and in his nature. Leadership is a huge part of a company’s success and most people only think of leadership in the context of how you lead your business, but in fact, this is an error that you should avoid. Leadership should be part of the everyday culture of your business. Employees at all levels of the company can lead, and when they do practice great leadership in their work, they will enjoy greater empowerment.
If you want to turn employees into leaders and increase productivity in your company, empower your employees to take charge:
Be a strong Leader
Your staff need to have confidence in your ability to lead. In your ability to protect the business and make the right choices under difficult circumstances. When you lead by example, you will demonstrate strong leadership and will inspire loyalty, strength and pride in your employees.
A true leader is honest and transparent in all things, including the personal face they show the world. His or her actions align with expresses core values. An authentic leader will inspire loyalty and confidence through vulnerability, which will encourage the same in others.
Leaders who are authentic don’t keep employees guessing. They are open about challenges and setbacks, they own their mistakes and show their human side.
In order to lead successfully, you must master the skill of influence. Harnessing the power of identity is essential to influence. What is your identity? What rules and set of beliefs do you define for yourself and life by? Your business identity is your brand. Ask your employees to describe the business brand. Once they give answers, assign them the task of fleshing out and expanding their sense of the business identity so that they can clearly communicate it to others. This will be essential in moving your business brand forward.
Don’t just Delegate – encourage results
Delegation is an essential part of leading a business, you can’t do everything yourself but when you focus on just delegating, you are missing out on opportunities. Instead of delegating and expecting employees to complete certain tasks, communicate to them what you need from the work and let them figure out how to make it happen. Support your employees as they work towards an outcome, in this way you are sharing your goals with them and can see it through as a team. This will inspire your employees to feel more invested in the business and its outcomes.
Great leaders are great communicators. There is no exception to this rule. If you do not have the ability to make your team understand outcomes, goals and mission, you cannot inspire them. Communication is the bedrock of any business as it forges true connections between people. Teach by example.
This is everything! If you are genuinely passionate about your business, your enthusiasm will infect your employees. This is true for your employees also. If you want them to lead, they need to share your passion and only you can help them to do that.
One thing that most great leaders share is emotional intelligence. Without it, it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to be a self-aware leader. The self-aware leader understands his or her strengths and weaknesses but doesn’t stop there. He or she also works to maximize strengths and improve in weak areas.
This kind of leader inspires employees to engage in the same kind of introspective self-analysis. The result is a more productive team of self-aware and self-motivated people.
Leaders who encourage opposing opinions, criticism and new ideas/challenges have nothing to fear. This kind of feedback will only enhance their performance and ability to lead and will invite employees into active roles in the business process. He or she will inspire employees helping them to be unafraid to be innovative and to contribute.
The key to being a good leader is to take a measured approach and work on your leadership over time. As your style grows, so will your employees!