If you want your business to be successful then you need to realise that your staff are your most important asset and you need to develop a healthy workplace culture.
Developing leadership skills for owners and senior managers is vital when it comes to protecting and developing this asset. A motivated and enthusiastic workforce’s value is immeasurable but one which is dispirited and discouraged can easily be seen with dips in productivity and sales.
The most important part of a company’s culture is trust. People don’t feel trusted if you micromanage them and this can have disastrous implications. In his book – It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the World – US Navy captain Michael Abrashoff talks about this very subject.
He says: “The difference between thinking as a top performer and thinking like your boss is the difference between individual contribution and real leadership. Some people never make this jump; they keep doing what made them successful, which in a leadership role usually means micromanaging.”
Abrashoff goes on to add that he worked with a firm which promoted its best salesman to be head of sales but instead of leading the sales force, he became the “super salesman” of the company and had to be in on every sale.
“The other salespeople lost interest and stopped feeling as if they were in charge of their own jobs because they knew they couldn’t make a deal without him there to close it. He would swoop in at the last minute, close the deal, claim all the glory and leave the others feeling they were just holding his bat,” adds Abrashoff.
Don’t remove ownership
Removing this “ownership” from your sales team is the quickest way to discourage your team and to make them feel unconnected to the business.
Abrashoff aptly concludes: “When people feel they own an organisation, they perform with greater care and devotion. They want to do things right the first time, and they don’t have accidents by taking shortcuts for the sake of expedience.”
So what can you do? Fortunately, there are plenty of options for encouraging good leadership and coaching is one tried and tested method which is gaining traction within the business world.
Coaching helps retain not just employees – but the best employees – and, more importantly, it gives leaders the skills to know how to motivate them so that they work with passion, energy, and enthusiasm.
Taking the time to learn how to develop your own skills through a mixture of mentoring, peer review and personal goal setting gives leaders a platform on which they can extend that knowledge throughout their workforce.
Studies demonstrate that companies which employ coaching within their workforce have better productivity, reduced sickness and unauthorised absence in the workforce and keep their staff longer. The primary reason people leave a company is not for money, as is mistakenly believed, but for either personal career progression or because they feel undervalued.
Communication is vital. Setting up staff councils or even just a monthly staff suggestion board where people can put forward ideas which they think may make everyone’s lives easier, are simple methods of helping to create a culture of success.
A US study looked at the effects of coaching in a public sector agency where 31 managers underwent a conventional managerial training programme followed by an eight week one-to-one executive coaching programme.
Traditional training, which included goal-setting, collaborative problem solving, practice, feedback, supervisory involvement, evaluation of end results and a public presentation, increased productivity by 22.4%.
However, training in combination with some professional B2B coaching, saw an increase in productivity of 88% (Public Personnel Management; Washington; Winter 1997; Gerald Olivero; K Denise Bane; Richard E Kopelman).