Visible Leadership: Energising Your Workforce
Leadership in business is a fascinating subject.
Since we’re living in the information age, now pretty everyone and anyone can have access to great insider information. What was once seen as a foggy veil, the public can now dissect the reasons of business leaders around the world. Industry giants need giant personalities to connect with the audience and satisfy consumer curiosities.
So for anyone who has started their own business, it may be of great concern that their leadership skills are adequate. However, the truth is, leading people doesn’t come naturally to many people. Nobody ever discusses what it actually takes to personally be ready to go into the fray. You will need to be cool and methodical, building up relationships, but be ready to severe them if the call comes to do so. Being tough on your employees doesn’t mean berating them but rather conjuring them to be self-critical instead. You can and should be a visible authority figure that energises your workforce without being too domineering.
Make the office rounds
When you first begin to get set in the groove of running your business, you’ll have a sudden realisation. Leadership isn’t what you may have first thought it was. It’s not sitting behind a large mahogany desk with your feet up, smoking a cigar and watching the money roll in. Quite the contrary, in fact, as you will be the busiest person in the company. The larger you get, the more you can offload some of your less important responsibilities to managers and heads of department.
However small, business owners will need to be the people person practically every day. Therefore, make the effort to physically go around to all the desks and offices of your employees and check in on them. Strike a balance of enquiry and small talk to keep it light but still relevant to a serious goal-orientated environment.
Meetings like rallies
Every business in the world has internal weekly meetings of some kind or another. When you have a large number of employees to communicate with, this almost certainly means you’ll split this into fractions, spread out over days or weeks. The added advantage of running a small business is, you have direct access to all of your workers. As Jozef Opdeweegh says “Leaders and CEOs must have excellent communication skills. They have to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, not only to their management team but also to the broader organization.” Being able to clearly and openly talk with your employees face to face and be frank is a major factor. Meetings can become rallying points, where each member of the team can be seen by their peers to play a key role in the company’s success. You can scan around the room and look people in the eye, giving them objectives, praise and hope.
Leading from the front has been, is and always will be the most effective way to command a group of people. As a small business, you’re all in it together, rowing in the same boat. As their commander in chief, you need to energise your troops, prepare them for the intensity of chasing your goals and competing with bigger businesses.