Employees are looking for a place to work that provides more than just a paycheck. Employees desire stability, a place where their job has meaning and where they feel like an important part of the machinery. In many cases, they also desire someone that inspires them to reach higher and to become better people.
Leaders in business are accountable to effectively and efficiently deal with the external world, attract and retain top talent, and deliver bottom line results to all stakeholders.
This case study deals with some of the most immediately beneficial strategies that leaders can pursue in increasing their leadership capability. It focuses on knowing how to develop powerful leadership so that your audience receives the experience that they most need. In it, we show how to make an immediate impact and how to improve your long-term business fundamentals.
Our client is majority owner of a construction company. They were doing well as a company, but not great. The owner was a patient man and had started in business at a relatively young age. He had a minority partner that worked in the business and was more of a manager than leader. This partner was looked to by other employees as knowledgeable, experienced and valuable.
The two owners found it difficult to make changes in the business. They and other employees went to seminars, read books and brainstormed. Lots of ideas were generated and yet nothing would stick. Follow through did not occur and, even with the best of ideas, the individuals, team and company would return to doing it the old way. The company was doing fine; perhaps they had just hit a temporary plateau. They wanted to ensure that nothing major was wrong…was there any danger lurking nearby?
Identifying the primary issues
This company had 150 employees in three different divisions at two locations. The owners had been in the business for 15+ years each and had begun at an early age. They had good basic training although not much “leadership” or “team” training. Employee turnover, especially in middle management had begun to increase. They had lost some key employees and had trouble hiring good replacements.
The minority partner in the business was not very engaged. The two owners generally got along well, yet whenever a big initiative came along that would seem to help, behind the scenes minority partner quietly and unintentionally sabotaged the efforts. It was not that he did not support the initiative; he wondered publicly if there was a better way than the idea before them. This always created an element of doubt, causing enthusiasm to quickly erode and the initiative to grind to a halt.
The owners, leaders and managers were hard working and focused. Attitudes were great. There was also always too much to do and so not all of it got done, but they were “workhorses”. High priority items did not always get completed. There was very limited time and energy left to “think” and “commit” to changes in processes and mindsets.
The minority owner made suggestions about what to do and encouraged change, yet he did not push employees or force any accountability. He was seen as caring and a nice guy. The vision of the future was to grow the business yet the “how” was unclear. The employees were very loyal to him with middle management turnover the only concern.
The client started out in business at a young age. He was very effective, but had little formal training and lacked full confidence in his instincts. He seemed to lack strong conviction, and that was what was needed to get him to speak with confidence and stand for the vision and values necessary for the company to truly grow and become what it could be. By understanding what the audience really thought, he was able to increase the clarity of their common vision and then use the need to achieve the vision to help drive, motivate and excite the troops. The need to achieve began to bring The Leadership Team together and allowed him to smoothly shift from a “managing diplomat” to becoming a “leader” causing important changes. In the same way, the minority partner needed to know that the audience valued his knowledge, but the timing of his interaction was as critical as the actual interaction. While he desired to continue in his “management role”, he became much more effective as a “supporting leader” and was able to encourage and assist the others in the details where his partner had less capability.
As leaders, it is critical that we have internal confidence in ourselves, whether our style is quiet or loud. It is the confidence that comes through in our body language, our words and how we initiate and respond to others. This confidence allows us to speak and reinforce with passion and persistence what is needed.
In the modern fast changing world, there is no other occupation that requires such a high level of performance in so many areas as being a leader. It is a leader that brings everything together through a team of people to get into the head and heart of individuals, where everyone desires to work together for better results and a better life. While the outer behavior is important, it must be combined with internal understanding and introspection.
The ultimate test in leadership is, “Do you have passionate, excited followers that will follow you into an uncertain future?”
Mistakes to avoid
Some practical advice
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If you are interested in learning more about how to develop your leadership impact and how it can help you avoid or escape a declining business and life, please contact us.
You may also wish to learn more about our unique process for Business Owners called The Comprehensive Independence Builder™, in which we address all of the obstacles you face and then help you use innovative strategies to protect and enhance your business, improve your quality of life and better achieve your goals.
To schedule your Leadership Challenge Exploration Session or for more information on our process, please contact us at 800-786-4332, or firstname.lastname@example.org.