I am sitting at my desk in the dark. Like many South Africans, I am wondering what went wrong? I do not want to get involved in any political debate or start the blame game. However, I cannot resist sitting here thinking about the impact of poor leadership. Our “powerless” situation is no different from executives and business owners who do not have a clear strategy and strong leadership skills.
The challenge many leaders face is a lack of buy-in from their leadership teams. This lack of buy-in or conflict on where you are going will result in poor service delivery, disgruntled customers and staff with low morale. When lobbed together, this will cause nothing but disruption to your business and, ultimately, your failure.
The need for leadership development is more critical now than it ever was before. Many organizations place people into senior roles that they are not ready to step into. Not only do they not have the skills to do the job successfully, but they also often lack the “human” or “soft” skills to work effectively with those around them. They cannot connect with their superiors or subordinates. As a result, they cannot influence, mobilize and empower their teams to achieve the greater goal.
When staff do not feel connected to the ones leading them and morale drops, so too do their productivity levels drop and ultimately, the business starts going backwards. Many organizations are faced with challenges of staff placing unreasonable demands on them. These demands result from the team being kept in the “dark” about what is happening in the business. They do not know what needs to change to take the company forward and the plans required to get there. Unfortunately, there can be other factors, such as leaders enriching themselves to the detriment of those around them, but I will not delve into that in this article.
How do you keep a team motivated in these challenging times? We all know that the last year has placed additional pressure on many people, businesses and relationships. Many people had reductions in salaries, some have lost colleagues, family and friends to COVID, some are now single breadwinners in a home. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix.
Leaders need to use this time to step up and lead. Take time to understand how your teams are feeling. Are they concerned about the future of your business? Have you engaged in discussions about what you could do together to turn the company around?
Have you been honest about what is happening in your environment? To survive and thrive, we need everyone in the business to work towards the same goal. You may need to revisit the Vision set for a company two years ago. The systems and process that you have in place may need to be revised. You may need to rethink the working conditions for your team. These are a few of the things business leaders should be addressing now.
If you are not agile and are instead set in doing things the way they have always been done in the past, you may find yourself left behind while your competitors adapt and thrive.
Take time out to sit with your teams, find out what is happening on the ground. Listen to their feedback and address matters that need to be addressed and resolved. Ask your customers for feedback, and understand their needs. This is no time for dictatorial leadership. This is a time for a change. This is a time to get your team who you do need, to work together to succeed. We all know that when pulling in the same direction, we achieve greater results, so why is it so difficult for leaders to do this? Is it egos? Is it power? Or is it poor leadership? We may think the power sits at the top; however, the power is in your team.
Invest in your leaders today. Leadership development can bring about the change you need and drive your business forward.
"I believe that leadership Coaching is a process of self-understanding and can help every organisation achieve success. Reach out to me today to learn more about how to develop your leaders, Coach Sonja Shear".