Business Leadership is a competency that everyone in business needs to practice and develop every day in order to be successful. According to HR talent development guru Josh Bersin, the “overwhelmed” worker will have almost no time for development; not even an hour a week. Which means without training, development, and practice of skills leaders will rely on luck and hope for success. I guarantee you Tom Brady and the rest of the Super Bowl winning Patriots practice for more than one hour a week!
For many years, I have described business leadership as equal to the process of executing your business strategy to make a profit and create shareholder value through people.
As business leaders, we need to provide our teams and employees with the skills, practice, tools, and reasons to be successful and feel engaged and committed. As I have learned over the years by conducting award-winning business leadership learning engagements, employees feeling engaged comes down to very basic elements including feeling good about their work and feeling good about how their work gets done. In other words, a pride of purpose in the workplace.
Too many business leaders struggle with getting their direct reports to feel pride in their company, their work, and their purpose. The business leadership challenge becomes how to change the game, the mindset, and most importantly the actions of employees who aren’t necessarily “dis-engaged,” but certainly aren’t feeling and exhibiting tremendous pride.
In 2017 and beyond – where we have at least 4 generation still in the workforce - creating and leading an environment where everyone feels great pride and does whatever it takes to get the job done is very hard, but it can be done.
Based on some recent research that we conducted as part of the overall design for the creation and launch of our new Fundamentals of Business Leadership Simulation. Here are 3 examples of effective leadership skills that will help to develop an environment of pride in the work and on the team:
1) Be clear about expectations
Most companies do a fair job defining tasks and setting rewards for achievements of goals and objectives but too often fall short in terms of setting specific roles and responsibilities. As we still recover from the financial meltdown of 2008, many jobs went away and too many employees are doing at least two jobs which makes things even fuzzier. When this occurs, things fall through the cracks because employees don’t know what to do and they haven’t been provided the skills and tools to be successful. Great business leaders make sre that their people know their jobs, objectives, and key results (OKRs). In addition, employees with pride will pitch in and find new innovative solutions and help move the entire team forward.
2) Do everything possible to share their system of business
A business is a system of integrated dynamic parts. Sometimes these parts move well together and many times they do not. The job of a business leader is to share how the system works and the role each employee plays in making the system work. Having Business Acumen 101 skills is a start to the process but leaders have to go out of their way and make it a regular routine to share the big picture in terms of strategy, metrics of performance, and expectations.
3) Create an environment of pride by acknowledging success
An organization’s vision statement and value proposition to customers is the start but a business leader’s job is to bring them alive and make them happen. Acknowledging and sharing success is a critical function of the creation of an environment that has significant pride. And I don’t mean “pizza Fridays.” I mean taking the time to acknowledge people for their work, customers for their partnership, and the achievement of specific goals and objectives in deep and meaningful ways. But be careful! Not everyone likes the same sort of recognition and one of your key jobs as a business leader is to match the right “acknowledgement strategy” with the right personality style of the person you are acknowledging.