If You Want To Be a Great Leader, Then Focus on Your People!

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Hi everybody and welcome back to Strategy, Leadership and Impact. Again, I’m your host, Blake Repine. I once again, thank you so much for all the support that you’ve been giving the podcasts over the last few months for almost six months now. Here we are coming to our fourteenth episode so I’ve been very very impressed with how well the podcasts have been doing and the uptake that it’s received and the audience and everything. I say, I just couldn’t be more happy, again thank you very much for that.

So on to this week subject, what I really want to talk about is this…has actually been something that has come up quite a few times recently, so it seems to be a hot topic particularly in my current environment: How can you be the best leader that you can be? 

Qualities of a great leader

And one of the ways you can be a great leader is to put resources, put time, put effort into the people that you lead, and sometimes is not about activities external to your group, it’s all about the activities that are internal to your group that you lead.

Now, telling someone to do things and they do it is not leadership. Just because people are compliant to what you ask them to do or because people are obedient, doesn’t mean that you are leading them, that means that you tell them what to do, some people may say that’s the management part of it So, How do you do that? How do you support your people? 

One thing is giving them opportunities for development and this doesn’t necessarily means paid development activities, such as conferences, so I’m not sure a lot of conferences how much development there is in those, because a lot of them very much focus on the commercial aspect and just trying to race money but, What kind of opportunities are you giving them for development? Sometimes budgets can’t sustain things like that, you can’t actually send them away to receive training, and What can you do internally that helps develop them?

Think about some of the books you’ve read on leadership, that actually you’ve maybe learned something from. Have you shared those with your team? Have you shared your experiences with your team? Not only that, you can also develop them further by providing that experience. What higher level of experience have you been giving them the opportunities for, in order to develop strategic thinking? Or to think about things that are higher level or outside the level that they are currently working at? Or you know, those experiences that may put them a little bit, for example, if you have a human resources manager, How much finance background do they have? How much finance training do they have? Have you had them sit with the Finance team and learn what goes into a PNL? What goes into a balance sheet? How does all that work? Or vice versa, have you allowed your CFO or your finance team to sit with Human Resources and learn what they do? Or seat with the marketing team? Or you know a little bit or sharing information across the team to give your people a more broad level understanding of how things work within your organization.

A lot of big corporations actually have the luxury of being able to move people around, every three to five years or so, they move someone as part of their talent management or professional development program, but smaller organizations don’t honestly have the ability to do that, but you can do it in small little chunks, you know, a day or a week or whatever may be.

Also, work with partner organizations and potentially booking employee exchange programs or setting up something like that on a small scale; you’ll be surprised how many organizations will be open to that in order to develop their people. Maybe it’s a math that you do that for, also look at the tasks you are doing and, what can you delegate instead of holding all those tasks within your own portfolio? What can you delegate? Not in order to make things easier for you, but in order to challenge people. Remember you can always delegate authority, but you can’t delegate responsibility, at the end of the day you’re still responsible for those tasks, as a matter of fact, you are responsible for everything anybody does that works bellow you or within your umbrella. 

How can you lead and help?

What are you delegating them in order to challenge them? And again maybe give them a different perspective around the organization. At the end of the day one of the best things you can do is just listen to your people, and support them, whenever they bring ideas, whenever they bring objections, whatever may be, positive, negative, whatever. Are you listening to them? And actually taking that on board and responding appropriately, not shutting them down! , but actually engaging with them on that, and then whenever they do bring ideas or even negative things and you engage with them and you see the matter in that, how are you supporting them? Are you actually backing them whenever they are bringing up something that may be negative that you agree with as well? Are you backing them whenever they have a big project they want to implement across your organization?

Too many times you see that they don’t receive the backing, you know, you may get in the head: no, go ahead and do that or yes I agree let’s not do that, but you don’t back them and that’s when you can actually lean your own authority to help develop them, back them, but they don’t put themselves out there, they don’t actually try whatever is they want to try, work with them thru the process, if they fail, again you learn, if we don’t fail we learn.

Embrace your fails  and Learn from them

Typically the failures aren’t going to be so catastrophic that is going to destroy the company. If you have a great team around you, it’s highly…, and even, you know, if you do fail it’s very likely that you minimize the impact of any failure. Typically is not a full fletch failure, it’s just a road blocker, set back, it’s something typically that you can walk around and if you have the right team, you are developing your people and giving thinking about these things: How do you get around roadblock? How do you recover from set back? How do you develop that resilient organization and working with them?

As you do this and your people do develop and they start thinking strategically, and they start to being able to accomplish more and they have this positive attitude and they’re accomplishing things and they are going to run more and they are hungry for that growth, realize that you are standing in their way, and what I mean by that is when you’re looking at upper mobility of staff typically you’re standing in the people that more directly blow your path in order for them to grow in their carrier. 

When that happens don’t be upset when they come and talk to you and say I want more, actually work with them and say: “look you probably are going to have to leave the organization”

Again if you are in a large multinational organization with tens of thousands of employees, you can probably find an opportunity and if you are in a small organization, or even in a medium size organization, you probably don’t have opportunities like that for them, so you just recognize that they may have to leave in order to continue growing.

Let it be on good terms when they do leave, don’t ever hold someone back because they’re so valuable in the position that they are in currently, or what they’re doing is so valuable to your organization that you can’t promote them. I’ve seen that happens time and again, and some of you probably have too, and that is a horrible, horrible way to treat someone, and that is poor leadership, and again you may have heard the same: all the good people work somewhere else, well here is a good indicator, if you have head-hunters try to headhunt your people, left, right and centre, then that’s a good indication that all the good people work for you and you’ve done a great job in developing them.

Even better key metric there is if they’re staying, then you’ve engaged them, your employer attention is high, you are doing a great job, but then also again recognize: How do respect for that individual who is putting the work, who’s actually done what they need to do, done what you’ve asked them to do in order to develop themselves? Sometimes you got to let them go, and I say if it’s in a positive note, one day they may come back to replace you, one day they may come back to be your boss, you never know, but if you leave on a good note, maintaining a strong relationship you are just building your network, you are keeping your network strong and one day they may reciprocate and help you with something else. People will appreciate that.

You put time, effort and energy into people, and they appreciate that and they will work harder for you, actually you see them developing more, you see them taking on board, it’s amazing the things that you can accomplish. So, in that small challenge to you if you are leading people or supposed to be leading people, what are you doing for them? What are you doing to make them better? What are you doing to prop them up? So just think about that. The next time you’re working with your people think: how can I make them better, what I can do to add value to what they are doing? because by adding value to them you are adding value to yourself. Again, thank you very much and I’ll talk to you soon.

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About Me

Hello There! I’m Blake Repine, an experienced Executive Director with a passion for leadership, inspiration and results.

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