Whether your company has 10 employees or 1,000, the strength of leadership will be the difference between success and failure. It really is that easy.
True leadership helps people find purpose and follow a vision. This is especially important for companies, because purpose gives employees something to fight for, something to work toward. Employees who don’t connect with their leadership — or who feel their own managers aren’t even leading themselves — feel frustrated by their work, unable to find the purpose in the details of their everyday tasks. Worse still, they often feel enticed to abandon ship. And when companies don’t stop to celebrate everyone’s successes, including how their work connects with the company’s overall values, burnout will never be far away.
If you want your leaders to inspire your company’s team, utilize the four degrees of leadership: to lead yourself, lead others, lead the group, and lead the movement. It’s up to the organization’s leaders to develop and guide the organization to a common purpose. To implement the four degrees into your company and give others a greater purpose, follow these tactics:
Evaluate and clarify the organization’s purpose.
Being a leader is about more than just gaining a new title and managing direct reports. It means uniting everyone under one banner so that each employee is working toward the same purpose.
Before we get all crazy with this, it’s important to sit down as an executive team and make sure that the vision is crystal clear to everyone in the room. Ask yourselves, “What are we trying to do, change, or become?” After the answers are completely clear, your leaders have to communicate that vision — and make sure employees understand it. Talk about the purpose to everyone in many ways and until you are blue in the face. Keep doing this until the entire company sees what you see.
Help your employees emotionally connect with their work.
Your company needs leaders who embody the vision. And you need leaders who love people enough to let some people go. Not everyone is a good fit in the context of your organization, and you shouldn’t try to manipulate them to get them on board. The reality is that about 15 percent of the company either won’t care or won’t want to have a part of it. That’s hard for leaders, but it’s a reality they have to work with.
That doesn’t mean everyone who doesn’t immediately identify with the purpose should step away from the organization. Some people need the right leadership to help them identify where they’re making a difference. One architect at Hollis + Miller, for example, is a phenomenal architect: She created innovative reinventions for Joplin, Missouri, schools that included unique learning environments even when some of the buildings didn’t have proper classrooms. Despite this important project, she simply wasn’t connected with the work. She is so scientifically driven and analytical that it took her two years to realize the impact her designs had on human beings and on the community.
This architect needed someone to help her emotionally connect her work to the impact she was making. When employees feel like the organization’s purpose is their purpose, you’ll see much more impressive results.
Ensure your values trickle down.
Your entire team is a chain. If there’s a link in the chain unconnected to what the company sees for the future, then the chain falls apart. Without the entire chain working together, it can’t do its job.
I’m working with an architecture firm that works with healing environments, learning environments, and commercial environments. The healing and learning teams are deeply connected with the work they’re doing: They see the purpose, they have a vision, and they’ve connected with how their work is connecting with a community of people. And they are so far ahead of the commercial team. The commercial team, in fact, has more skilled architects than the other two teams, but they can’t get past the starting line because everyone is focused on a different goal. Some want more money, some want awards, some are serving the community, and they’re all disjointed. Everyone has to be on the same page to succeed.
Your employees need to be able to see the organization’s vision from the beginning. Without good leadership, they’ll never reach the end goal.
It takes a lot to be a great leader; following these tips and working through the four degrees of leadership will help achieve the organization’s purpose. That way, your leadership will inspire employees to not only stay on the ship, but also to take time to make it better in every way.
Interested in more tips? Use the P10 Evaluation benchmark to get started on evaluating your company’s performance and to learn more about the 10 Key Practice Areas.
And if you want to attend a workshop or gain more advice, contact DeWayne Ables at 913-747-0033.