Good leadership is the key to success. Good communication is the key to good leadership. Think of a great leader of modern times: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy immediately come to mind. They were strong leaders because they could inspire people to follow them. It was their ability to articulate their vision that made them successful in achieving their goals.
In your business, you need to be the leader who inspires the team to great achievements. To get them to follow you, you need to make sure they listen to your values and vision and then create the right environment for them to thrive and grow.
When I talk about values, everyone nods their heads as if it’s a given, Kerri, it’s a given. But when I ask, I find that the last time they talked to their team about their values – personal and professional – was often in the job interview, before their employees were even hired.
To lead effectively, you need to know your personal values and your company’s values intimately. For example, do the answers to these questions come easily to you?
- What do you stand for?
- What is most important to you?
- What do you want to show with your life?
- What is your personal mission in life?
- What do you stand for?
- What are you willing to do to get new jobs?
- What are you not willing to do?
- Do you have a professional mission statement?
Good leaders do not change their values over time or achieve short-term success. Consistent organizational core value systems provide a strong foundation for long-term success.
A simple definition states that your values are the rules by which you play the game. A clearly defined value system makes all decisions easier and encourages your team to follow your lead.
It’s easy to say that you have a vision for your business. It is your lifeblood. You know it inside and out. The next step is to write it down. It’s also essential to share it with your team. More importantly, your vision for the company should present a unified picture so that everyone on the team – regardless of their role – can see exactly where you are going and the importance of their role in getting there. The clearer the concept and the clearer (i.e., short and simple) the message, the more likely you and your team will be able to achieve the goal. Your vision must answer three questions. And it must answer these three questions for all team members.
- What do we do?
- How are we doing it?
- Who are we doing it for?
As Jim Collins has proven in his book From Good to Great, this is not a 30-minute exercise for one meeting. This requires 100% participation. It cannot be a top-down decision. It must be iterative and inclusive.
Andrew Carnegie said, “You must capture and retain the heart of the original and highly capable human being before his brain can do its best.” By understanding what is at the core of your team members, you can serve them and enable them to reach their full potential. Value their uniqueness. Your team members are your internal customers. You need to treat them at least as well as you treat your external customers. This is the highest level of customer service.
Create the right work environment, and you will have loyal team members to lead you. That means you need to create a work environment where each individual is respected, where their performance is valued and rewarded, and where openness to change is encouraged. Create a safe environment that encourages trying out new ideas. When you unleash personal creativity, every team member has a stake in the outcome. It’s an environment that encourages growth at all levels. Combine all three elements and you have a formula that inspires greatness and leads to breakthrough success. Do it now!