Great leaders don’t tell you what to do, they show you how it’s done. (Anon)
There’s an art to running a sustainable, well performing company of any size. It has nothing to do with the office walls, the plaque outside or the stationery you have your logo on — it’s the people factor. More importantly, it’s the leader factor.
Growing a culture that can maintain a company’s values and performance, yet be agile with change and new strategy is vital.
Regardless of the processes, systems and software in place, the common denominator is those that lead the change.
No matter what size of business you are operating or working within, there are three pillars of change leadership that build trust, create unity and empower others:
1. Leading from within
Creating a positive and lasting culture shift in any organisation requires strategy, vision and a strong action plan. Most importantly, it needs leadership from the top down. This does not mean you have to be an expert in all areas of business, that is a different point altogether.
Great leaders continue to learn and hone their skills, keep informed and look for fresh ideas. They test out their theories, do their research and believe in the plans they are implementing.
2. Leading by example
If you do not walk the talk and demonstrate by example with consistency and integrity, then how can you expect those that work with you, or for you, to do the same?
Communicate and share the reasons why you are implementing change, and practice what you preach. Is your executive team on board and communicating with clarity and conviction? Are the new policies clearly demonstrated and backed up by examples from senior decision makers?
Ensure your C-suite are dedicated and can lead by example, as this is crucial to building credibility.
3. Leading others
Only by having a plan on how you are going to lead others can you ensure your employees will recognise change as being crucial. This helps them to be accountable to implementing your change strategy as seamlessly as possible.
When you’ve truly lead from within and lead by example, you have a clear platform to genuinely lead others. This builds trust and belief across and within teams. People will follow leaders who truly believe in the principles and best practice they are handing down.
A great leader or entrepreneur can recognise the need to delegate, the values and skills they need around them in their team, and can constantly step back to evaluate.
The ultimate step as a manager or leader is recognising that your actions speak louder than words. You need to truly believe in the merits of what you’re doing and demonstrate this by leading by example and with consistency. This helps you to share your journey, connect authentically, empower others with a strategy, and demonstrates that you are leading from within.
Find your brand ambassadors within the organisation that can champion the cause and new changes required, ensure they are also able to reflect these three pillars and engage their teams and colleagues as they lead by example.
Something powerful happens when personal accountability and experience can create connection and engagement across all levels of an organisation, and it usually starts from the top down. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”