Find your leading edge through strong leadership

Column by JAY PERRY

In a recent article in the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the former BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde stated, “Leadership is the key driver of best practices, innovation and productivity. It’s not surprising that there is strong correlation between leadership development and how companies perform.”

He further stated that “building leadership capacity in your company is more critical than ever.”

Why such urgency in his tone? Because we are in a turbulent business environment. I think we can all agree on that; possible recession looming, uncertain supply-chain quality, tight labor market, inflation driving up prices of both supplies and labor—need I go on?

Halde said. “Your role [as leader] is to be a positive and motivating influencer. You want to get people excited and behind your goals.” Most of you have heard me say many times that the leadership skills necessary to really take a company to the next level of performance can be learned. That is still true and as we face the above-mentioned challenges, we should all be striving to improve those skill sets. Continuous improvement applies to leaders as well!

Further advice from Halde admonishes us business owners to recognize the skills of other people on our team and to tap into those strengths. I feel that in doing so you are fulfilling one of the most important parts of the leader’s job—making more leaders! It’s the team with the best and the most leaders that win the games. Not every leader has a title denoting their position, but everyone has talent that can be harnessed for the greater good of the company if the leader is astute in identifying and developing that talent.

The most effective way to develop talent is through coaching. We do that and we teach it in our coursework. We want the leaders we work with to be excellent at coaching-up the talent within the team members. As Halde said, “Formal academic training programs may fail to engage people. A better strategy … is to ensure that your more experienced managers are coaching other team members and sharing their knowledge with them.” That takes developmental work which requires commitment.

He also talks about something we have written about in the past, acknowledgement. “When you’re asking people to pull out all the stops, especially during difficult times, you want to show your appreciation for a job well done.” We must recognize and truly appreciate the work that our team puts in for us. Remember that they are dealing with personal challenges so the sacrifice they are making on our behalf is often unseen to us. Therefore, getting to know your people is part of the leader’s job. I don’t think we can ever have complete comprehension of what another person goes through, and I know that as we develop others (and ourselves) as leaders it gets us closer to that state which is what will keep us the one who’s driving.



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