The 3 Most Important Actions of Leadership

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This is the first of a three-part blog series on the responsibilities of leadership in our industry. I’d make the case for any industry, really.   

The focus here is all the more important because at the operations level of our companies, regardless of business segment, managers are expected to serve as leaders. Management and leadership are different things.   

This nuance is something we rarely talk about. I will in each of these three blogs.

The three most important actions of leadership are:  

1.  Performance on Purpose.

The company mission, modeling of values, sense of purpose and vision must be aligned and clear. This condition is paramount at the corporate level and managers need to be trained to do the same at the unit level.  The mantra of a leader should be, “I am clear as a leader of who we are and where we’re going, and I model that behavior in an inspiring way.” That last point is critical. Modeling behaviors so to inspire rather than command, inspire rather than whip or play cop.   

As leaders, we do not need to be extroverts, we don’t need to be everybody’s buddy. Each of us do need to model and inspire. Lastly, critical to this point of “Performance on Purpose” is that the definition of purpose, mission, values for the company MUST be determined. If we haven’t done so, there’s work to be done.  These actions as leader, captain the ship and define culture.

2. Finding and Retaining the Very Best People.

We see and hear stories every day about how difficult finding and keeping great people is. Regardless, this result is a must.

What makes achieving this goal so challenging? In my experience, there are three pitfalls of which to be aware:  

a.  We list job posts instead of telling stories about our culture, about our purpose, values, etc. Like social media, create inbound marketing for each position, tell stories of the role, stories of the way it feels to work in our company, corporate or unit. The pitfall here, the stories better be real.

b. Mission, purpose, values either haven’t been defined correctly or they’re not being modeled in a way that inspires. Hence a great story might be told about our business culture, however, once in the door, reality does not match the story.  Result, good people leave, what we’re left with is “C” players.  

c.  We interview ineffectively. In my experience, most interviewers do two things ineffectively more often than not. All the “correct” answers are given away in their excitement to onboard. Or the wrong questions are asked. This includes a rote list of mundane questions about goals among other topics. My offer is ask real questions and don’t settle for the first response— go deeper. Listen for responses that hold accountability instead of blame or excuses. The more excuses, the worse the hire.    

3. The Achievement of Fiscal Health of the Company.   

Fiscal results are all the easier to achieve when the above actions of leadership are in place. In my experience the more fiscal information that’s shared the higher the results. Add steps and tools to get said results and they end up even higher still. Regardless, profit is the driver of all growth and opportunity. In the 21st century, the question of how we get to profit is what puts knowing who we are and hiring accordingly first and second.     

Two actions that really support leadership is to have in place fiscal systems that anticipate the financial statement. Do daily and weekly efforts to update accrued costing.  Weekly working profit and loss statements do the same, anticipating period end.   

In my experience the more leadership shares clearly defined fiscal goals and, then, the purpose and mission of those results with its teams, the more aware the team is and the more effective they are at hitting collective results.   

For leaders, knowing who you are and modeling said behaviors consistently adds to the ability to hire and retain great people. Both actions and the results thereof, guide leaders to fiscal results that astound and reward everyone on the team!     

More soon!

By Rudy Miick, Industry Expert