One of the pinch points for many small businesses with high growth ambitions is when a team gets to a certain size and the challenges of managing staff effectively to ensure every individual gets the attention and development opportunities they deserve.
Here, Chris Farmer, leadership and management training expert and founder of Corporate Coach Group, discusses the attributes you should look out for in future managers and how you can best develop these skills as your business grows.
For many businesses, it’s often thought that in order to grow you need to add new skills to your arsenal through the recruitment of talent that might have experience of managing bigger teams and budgets. However, within your existing workforce, it’s crucial that business leaders tap into areas of untapped potential with existing staff when it comes to management and progression opportunities.
These potential leaders have the insight of your organisation’s systems, customers, processes, history, culture and staff. All they need now is the addition of a few essential skills and techniques relating to effective leadership and management.
Successful leadership and management is underpinned by a set of universal principles, which can apply to all sectors and industries as they all tie back to the fundamentals of human-to-human relationships.
Before looking at these aspects, it’s important to remember we can’t get the best from other people unless we first learn to get the best from ourselves first. Leadership and management all boils-down to personal development and the future leaders of your business are those who already have technical knowledge, which combined with a burning desire to learn and improve, can be used to help others to grow too.
The core skills of effective leaders
Your top candidates for internal leadership development should be those who already show a natural talent for the following:
Managers need to have that competitive streak and be able to set goals and stick with it until it is achieved. A goal-focused mindset with high levels of intrinsic motivation is key to essential leadership because having a clarity of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. This motivation can also can also rub off onto teams to create a sense of camaraderie.
This applied to both the way we speak and being able to write in a distinct and persuasive manner. Poor managers often use vague, ambiguous or imprecise language during meetings or when conversing via email or text messages which is open to multiple interpretations and confusion amongst teams, which must be avoided during business critical communication.
Good leaders are excellent communicators. They are precise, definite, accurate and persuasive and while some people are equipped with these assets, most will need training to help them improve the accuracy of their communication, both in the spoken and written form.
Carefully calculated decision making
Managers must be able to make excellent decisions and have the courage to act upon them. One of the core assets of poor management is being too afraid to make a decision, often due to the fear of making the wrong one. Instead, they dither and hedge their bets. They say neither yes nor no.
Those who are able to make decisions and are able to stand by them following evaluation make natural leaders.
Leaders must harmonise the personalities in the team. Not everyone gets on well and disagreements amongst all teams are inevitable.
If internal conflict within a team is allowed to fester the whole team suffers, and more often than not, performance does as well. Leaders must know how to identify and quickly resolve conflicts and ‘nip the problem in the bud’, before it has a chance to escalate. Many managers mishandle conflict and most people need additional training on the best methods to resolve conflict rationally.
Not surprisingly, the most effective leaders imply a certain level of self-confidence. They are also able to utilise self-awareness, self-motivation and the ability to manage their stress to their advantage and to deliver excellence through their teams’ actions.
Those who cannot discipline their temper or moods, language, and bad habits, do not make good leaders. Therefore, self-control is an important skill. Self-confidence, self-control and self-awareness can all be improved with the correct training.
Provide a source of inspiration
The ultimate attribute of great leadership is becoming a source of strength to others. Many people lack optimism; they do not believe in the possibility of a better future. Great leaders are those who are able to maintain their conviction and belief that the goals they set are achievable regardless of the circumstances.
They are able to overcome obstacles and by doing so encourage other members of staff to become more naturally resilient, motivated and to about a problem-solving focused attitude.
Within your team, there will no doubt be people who have the potential to become the next generation of great leaders to take your organisation to the next level. By keeping an eye out for some of these six attributes, you can foster this growth and development to ensure your organisation is in good stead for years to come.