Having a profitable business that delivers rock star service is a primary focus for business owners and rightly so. We wouldn’t have a business for very long without if we are not profitable.
The question then becomes where should the greatest emphasis be to put your business on the path of long-term and sustainable success? Many leaders believe it’s in the quality of their products and in the infrastructure used to make servicing your customers seamless and efficient. That may be true for a while…
Eventually, everything will come back to the quality of the people you have working in your business. It won’t matter how great your products are, or how superior the technology is to service your customers, if your people don’t muster up.
Everything Begins and Ends with the Quality of Your Leaders. I want to challenge you to take a good look at the people you have placed in leadership roles. Are they really leaders? Do they know how to lead other people to bring out the best in them, to connect with them, to resolve conflict, and redirect problematic behaviors? Do they know how to model superior customer service that leaves your customers raving about your business to their friends and neighbors?
Let me ask you a potentially hard question. Would you follow your leaders? Would you find them motivating and well-equipped to lead you?
I believe most “leaders” want to do a good job in their roles. I also believe many “leaders” have not been properly educated on how to effectively lead and engage others. All too often, employees are rewarded for their great work in their front-line position, with a promotion to now leading their peers. I want to clarify, simply because one becomes very skilled in his/her position, does not mean he/she will make a great leader. There has to be a passion and desire to lead others instilled within someone, not just a desire for higher wages and a new title. This is no different than someone being very knowledgeable in a subject area and then others assuming that would make him a great teacher. Teaching and leading require very different competencies than knowing and doing.
In my 17 years of leadership, I have seen too many people put in leadership roles who were not leaders. What happens is they become a cancer to that team they are leading and a domino effect of negative issues begin to arise. People will follow the behaviors they see in their leader, good and bad. They will begin treating their peers and even their customers at times in the same manner they see their leader behaving.
I have also seen people promoted into a leadership position who could be very good, but because they were not given the tools and clear direction to be successful, they flounder. This too, causes destruction in the teams. While this leader has the right heart for the position and intends to do well, their credibility is lowered and their employees do not respect him/her because they that person as incompetent. In this case employees will often rise up and begin to manage their “manager.” The lines are blurred and outright crossed in many instances, and it becomes confusing for everyone involved on who is providing direction. Unity in the team is lost.
To me, the answer is simple on where you put your greatest emphasis. That is, investing in the education and growth of your leaders first and foremost. Choose wisely when you are hiring leaders. Invest in skills that will help them succeed as a leader.
Your business’ success begins and ends with the strength and quality of your leaders. Make your leaders your top priority, and watch the positive ripple effect take hold!