All strong, successful leaders share one common trait: the ability to align teams with their vision and achieve their goals.
But sharing your leadership vision isn’t simply a case of coming up with a snappy paragraph to display on walls or print in a glossy brochure to hand out at an AGM. The vision and goals of an organisation have to be lived values, linked to outcomes.
Start with the strategy
The strategic goals of an organisation should be linked to the required outcomes of every role, from the directors to the frontline workers. This means a lot of planning and plotting, but people need to know how their individual tasks contribute to the bigger picture.
Break down your strategy into an actionable plan for each area of the organisation and identify goals for each department. These should be broken down further into divisions, teams and then finally into implementable actions for every individual.
Every role needs a purpose that’s linked to the vision, with a direct line that can be traced right back to the top. When people can see clearly how their role contributes to the overall outcomes of the organisation, they’re much more likely to perform it well.
Commit to coaching
Constant communication and ongoing dialogue are essential for driving a shared vision. Every person with responsibility for a team, regardless of its size or their level of seniority, has to understand the concepts of positive leadership.
Positive leadership is a deliberate commitment, not a happy accident. It requires coaching leaders at all levels to be open to suggestions from the people who are delivering the actions. Acknowledge what people are doing well, get to the bottom of why things don’t work and make changes.
Feedback should always be given and taken constructively. If it isn’t, then it’s either a leadership problem or a personal issue. Either way, it needs to be addressed.
If it’s a leadership issue, it won’t be limited to one individual. Low team morale, stalling productivity, high staff turnover and sick rates are all red flags for negative leadership.
If it’s an individual issue, then you need to get to the bottom of why. Is it problems at home? Poor health? If you can rule out any external factors and someone still isn’t performing, then it’s simply a case of them not being suited to the role. This needs to be managed for the benefit of the individual and the organisation.
Honest conversations are very important. If someone is doing a job they hate because they need the money – and a lot of people are – helping them to see where they add value can improve morale and performance.
When you’re flexible as a leader and help people to work to their strengths, they’ll perform much better and the organisation will benefit.
Goals, values and culture have to be full circle. People who feel valued will live your values.