Re: Winter 2013/14 - Page 107

be ayour own business leader in How to Leadership has many different definitions; from being in the winning position of a race, to leading a group of people in the pursuit of a particular goal, or garnering followers for a specific cause. For small or medium sized businesses effective leadership can simply be about behaving in a way that ensures you attain your goals while taking everyone who matters with you. Setting goals is nothing new. It’s a natural process for many of us in business, however setting those goals in a way that articulates what our business is, how we operate, what our priorities are, or simply who we are there to serve may not come so easily. In general terms there are three main functions of leadership; setting a clear direction for the business, identifying the goals to navigate by while ensuring they are achieved effectively to stay on course and, ensuring that all those who need to be on board are committed, motivated and clear about the part they play. We are operating in times when change is the only given certainty. Success is dependent on our ability to steer through often turbulent times towards our goals. Without clear goals our teams can feel lost. Maybe they don’t understand what they are trying to achieve or where they fit with the bigger picture for the business, or perhaps they know where they’re going but struggle to comprehend their particular mode of transport or an exact route. Whatever the issue, the important task for you as the leader is to get a good understanding of how you might help to steer the right course. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, more it’s an approach that needs to be adapted using the main functions of leadership in a way that is interchangeable so that your leadership behaviour is effective and gets the best out of your team as a whole, as well as the individuals within it. Here’s how you might begin; Setting a clear direction Explore the environment in which your business operates. Keep on top of things. Understand the context, trends, changes, opportunities or threats. What’s going on ‘out there’? Play to your strengths and the strengths of your people. Be clear about everybody’s contribution and understand how they operate as a collective – or how you want them to in the future if there is work to be done on that. Find different ways to articulate how you want things to be in the future. For some people this is about creating a picture; a visual of how things could be. For other’s it could be telling a story of a future that inspires, excites and motivates. Encourage thinking. Thinking is how we make sense of the world, how we interpret events and how we make plans for the future. By actively encouraging other’s to share their thinking it is more likely that you’ll create opportunities to innovate. Facilitate learning. Always be mindful that you can learn from others as much as they can learn from you - you have to be open to it. Get clear on the task ahead Plan your goals. This doesn’t have to be a boring laborious task. Make it fun. Be creative and involve your team. Use pictures or tools such as Goal Mapping (goalmappingonline.com) to set clear, highly visible goals that everyone can take ownership of. Foster relationships that will help maintain direction Recognition for achievements and contributions; it’s about recognising the difference people make, the part that they play and how what they do fits with the whole. Not only is it important for that to be recognised by their manager, leader, peers or even in some cases their customers, it is essential that they themselves know what their value is. Structure your organisational culture to fit with your direction; the best way to do this is to ensure the organisation’s values, purpose, and goals are transparent both within and outside the organisation and that the organisational mindset establishe B&Vf