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A lack of time or resources, as well as uncertainty about the effectiveness of leadership programmes, can prevent many entrepreneurs from investing in their workforce.
While these challenges and concerns exist particularly in the middle market, where thinly managed businesses with informal processes prevail, overcoming constraints pays dividends. After all, people are a company’s biggest asset.
According to the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), good leadership is the ability to understand people’s motivations and leverage them to achieve a shared goal. Skilful leaders can contribute to positive outcomes for individuals, teams, organisations, and communities. It’s important to develop leaders who can address the needs of a company or an organisation, and to create an environment that allows them to be effective.
Importance of Leadership Programmes
But often the problem is that, even though business owners recognise employees with the highest potential, they fail to develop that. Likewise, identifying retention risks, filling skills gaps, or planning succession aren’t the strengths of shareholders. And that’s where leadership programmes come into the picture.
“Having a leadership development programme is a cost-effective recruitment strategy for grooming leaders from within the ranks and developing a succession pipeline, rather than hiring new talent from the outside,” said Andrew Rahaman, Ed.D at bluSPARC.com. His job is to focus on succession management through executive coaching, among other tasks. But it isn’t necessary to look that far ahead to see the benefits of leadership development.
Margaret Wood, Founder ICW (UK) Ltd, Member of the UK Government MADE Smarter Review, comments: “At ICW (UK) Ltd, we have invested heavily in the ongoing development of our team to achieve Investors in People (IIP) accreditation with flying colours.” IIP is all about the management and continuous development of a team.
Wood Margaret: Well-trained, Knowledgeable and Motivated Teams
Ms Wood noted: “Why would a small manufacturing operation in West Yorkshire put such a high premium on its people? Quite simply, a well-trained, knowledgeable and motivated team is essential in manufacturing. Our experience is that if we invest in our team, they will repay that by delivering the goods and services to the highest standard that our customers need and want.”
She added that ICW (UK) Ltd’s continued success was because of the shared culture, work ethic, and ethos. Self-managed teams are fully responsible for business success. And more autonomy over processes and roles within the boundaries of a team’s agreements is a motivation factor.
What’s more, not everyone wants to be a business owner. Young people entering the workforce prioritise developing expertise over climbing the ladder within the company. Fifty-one percent of surveyed managers see that as an opportunity, as a BCG – IPSOS study shows. Self-directed teams also lead to innovation, as employees try new things in rotating roles, learning from teammates in the process.
When more brains come together, there’s a higher chance of solving complex issues, resulting in faster adaptability. It’s a close-knit give-and-take basis, with everyone focused on the outcome.
Kretov Aleksandr: The Importance of Building Self-Managed Teams
It’s hardly surprising that fewer work barriers equate to increased productivity. Kretov Aleksandr, a shareholder of the Ariant Group of companies, asserts: “A person’s and a company’s success is largely determined by the people they manage to gather along their path. Employees who feel valued and important are highly motivated to perform their best and to transform their work environment into the best it can be. Connecting with employees on a personal level can go a long way to making them feel important and valued.”
Mr. Kretov continues, “In the realm of business, fostering self-managed teams is the linchpin of sustained success. When you have faith in your team’s capabilities and empower them to take ownership of their roles, you create a culture of innovation and accountability. This not only enhances overall performance but also paves the way for long-term growth and prosperity. Trust in your team is the bedrock upon which thriving enterprises are built.”
Hyatt Michael: The Game Changer That is Self-managed Business
Michael Hyatt, the owner of Full Focus, comments: “As you may know, I’ve stepped down from my role as the CEO and walked away from the day-to-day operations of the business. I still own the business. However, I now only work six hours a day, four days a week. And guess what? The company keeps growing without my personal direction.”
So how is that possible without Mr Hyatt at the helm? Founding Full Focus, he took a one-month sabbatical right from the start and continued to do so year after year. He said it was a game-changer to convey to the team that they couldn’t always rely on his presence. That helped create a self-managed business.
Mr Hyatt went on to say: “Specific building blocks must be in place to enjoy the freedom of stepping away from your business while it continues to grow.” The building blocks include “vision,” “people,” “culture,” “systems,” and “mindset.”
According to Mr Hyatt, a vision is a clear picture of the company’s appearance when you’re not involved. “People” is about a team comprising the best performers. Just as important is a high-purpose company culture that fits the vision, as are systems that document processes of key business functions. Finally, the mindset is critical to successfully building a solid management team capable of running a company without shareholders getting in the weeds.
Many business owners have sacrificed years to build a successful company, paying a high price, including divorces, illnesses, a lack of hobbies, and more. If shareholders don’t know what to do with their free time after completing the hands-off approach to their business, they’re likely to return. This can potentially lead to more complications with friends, partners, children, and the general health side of things. Hence, investing in efficient management teams is also an investment in oneself.
Rahaman Andrew: Why Leadership Development Is Also an Investment in the Present
Growing future leaders doesn’t solve current issues at first glance, and yet it does. Resource constraints like a lack of time or money can be fixed.
Andrew Rahaman, the Ed.D at bluSPARC.com mentioned earlier, adds: “We worked with a healthcare technology firm that was growing so fast that senior leadership resisted a development programme for emerging leaders because of the time commitment.” When the CEO and CTO finally agreed, Mr Rahaman focused on removing bottlenecks. That involved teaching managers the skills to oversee their bosses’ projects, which in turn led to freed up time of their senior leaders.
Mr Rahaman concludes: “The investment in leadership development actually freed up more time than it cost.”
Leadership development investments allow business owners to cut down the amount of time to supervise their teams, letting them work on instead of in the business. In other words, triumphing over obstacles like a lack of resources can lead to a spike in productivity.
A final word from John Hawkins, speaker, leadership coach and CEO of Building Effective Leaders: “Leadership development matters. It will help you build yourself, your team, and your organisation for a more successful future.”