There has been a lot written about leadership, but becoming a leader in today’s competitive market isn’t an academic study. It’s an exercise of common sense. Change is always scary in any aspect of your life. So as a business leader, you need to make sure people have confidence in you – and by confidence I mean trust.
There are myriad research studies that show what people want most in leaders is honesty and integrity. During the last presidential election, our country struggled to choose between two candidates who had very little of both, according to the polls.
Garnering that kind of trust as a leader is simple. Always be open and honest and keep your messages simple and built on a foundation of your company’s mission and values. You need a diversity of ideas and experiences to help your company be innovative. You also need to win your team’s hearts. You want them invested in your company’s vision.
This highlights a natural tension that exists in innovative organizations: The need for diversity in order to generate creative ideas for success in an increasingly heterogeneous market environment and the requirement to create unity of purpose so everyone can be “rowing in the same direction.”
This creates a major challenge for leadership. While you can (and must) make internal rules that require mutual respect up and down your organizational ranks and enforce them, on the human level these qualities need to be modeled. Work to put together a leadership team that reflects the kind of diversity you want for your business. Respect divergent points of views and ideas.
Be open and honest with your team. When your employees begin to sense that there is someone else behind the curtain, they may continue to perform, but they won’t be fully engaged and morale will drop along with productivity and profitability.
If you treat people with respect and create an atmosphere where even a seemingly “off the wall” idea gets fair consideration, it goes a long way toward creating unity. More importantly, perhaps, it goes a long way toward achieving success and in business, success is the great unifier – everyone wants to get on board.
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