With the influx of social media in the last few years, there is heightened awareness of leadership across all industries.
With the influx of social media in the last few years, there is heightened awareness of leadership across all industries. There are blogs, posts and discussion threads on varying leadership styles, the do’s and don’ts of leadership, how to lead and inspire teams, etc. Essentially, we’re all really saying the same thing — the fundamental core message of leadership has not changed. We’re just spreading the good word through different media and referring back to specific examples or case studies. What’s interesting is we’ve been going through some of the most challenging economic times in the last few years; I feel that now, leadership, more than ever, is viewed as either incredibly great or really poor. And yes, it should be viewed accordingly — because after all, everything stems from leadership; it always stems from the top down. Leadership ultimately has the power to guide and inspire associates, ultimately making or breaking a company. A lot of folks don’t get this. They think it’s the product or their services — but that’s secondary because it’s really your people that manufacture or sell those products or offer those services. It’s your people that leave that everlasting impression with the client. You could have the best product out there — but if you have someone who is feeling over worked and not appreciated or valued by their leaders, that client experience will be very different as opposed to an associate all jazzed to offer a product because there is a personal commitment to their leader, even if that product was mediocre compared to a superior product. See the difference?
Having built and lead many teams in my past role in corporate America, and now currently in my role of helping people grow their businesses, most people miss this point. As a leader you inspire your associates to reach new levels, ideally both on a personal and business level. A fulfilled, happy and appreciated associate will most likely never leave. And understand this: When associates leave, yes, you can always get someone else in and train them, perhaps even at a lower salary — but also, client relationships leave with associates or, at best, are severed.
Poor leadership leaves the associates to their own devices to try to figure it all out on their own. There is no support and there is no recognition or appreciation. You may have heard that saying: “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” So what am I saying? Do leaders have to be therapist to ensure their employees are fulfilled? No, of course not — but simply, after identifying that associate is in the right role, leaders are responsible to ensure they have the right tools to do the best job they possibly can, rally support for them and express appreciation. Leaders who demonstrate empathy, compassion and genuine care for their associates will have those feelings reciprocated through their work. The best leaders in the world would take a bullet for their team because not only do they know they would never need to do that (because they’ve built a competent, strong team) but because they’ve got their back. And when an associate knows and feels that as an innate fact — they will perform miracles in your business.
— Grace Daly is an industry leader in retail design, construction and facilities, as well as an avid career coach. She is currently the Executive Director of Construction & Facility Conferences for InterFace Conference Group.