A common denominator in leadership is a passion for building winning teams to drive business success.
There’s a number of leaders who also possess a passion for leading people, some may even refer to it as their calling. But, the most successful leaders are the ones that are able to balance generating business results with building people. In fact, a key difference between successful leaders and their less effective counterparts, is their ability to see the correlation between fostering internal team development and better business results.
Finding that winning combination that allows for organizations to thrive can be a challenge, especially in an industry that is constantly changing and saturated with competitors (and what industry isn’t!) In having such a large number of competitors, and new ones frequently emerging, it is crucial to remain laser-focused on results while developing your teams’ skills. Below are four ways leaders at the executive level can prioritize the development of their teams in a way that positively impacts the bottom line of their business – a critical strategy that plays a key role in the longevity of any organization.
Internal development and goal planning helps retain top talent
Business results are driven by those who are actively doing the daily work. As a leader, it’s important to keep your team and help them prioritize initiatives through various development tactics. Especially as the country is experiencing an alltime high in job-hopping, retaining the top talent that has worked to build the business is extremely critical. Create an environment that is able to slow down and dedicate time to set goals and schedule one-on-one conversations. Offer real-time feedback, formalized training and ask your team members what they may need or want to work on as it gives an incentive for them to take pride in and own a particular effort. Hold yourself accountable on all these facets to keep the whole team on an upward trajectory.
Set a standard and commit to bettering your own leadership
Remind yourself that being a leader is a journey, not a destination, and your leadership style will and should evolve over time. One way to welcome and embrace that growth is to start each day
by looking in the mirror and ask, “What could I have done better yesterday, or last week? How can I inspire more people? Am I making my expectations clear? Are people engaged or excited to work with me?” These questions will help set the stage for improvement and while change may not be ideal for everyone, there is no growth in comfort. We have to work at being comfortable with the uncomfortable – it’s vital to look inward before looking outward. While it may start with yourself and fellow leaders, this trickles down to your overall team. Help your team learn and evolve – leadership owes them that much. This can be done through participation in round-table discussions where they can hear expertise from industry professionals, or perhaps it may be efficient to invest in corporate leadership classes and/or training.
Don’t work for the business, work on the business
As a leader, it is important to have a strong support team you feel comfortable delegating tasks to as this will ultimately allow you more time to work on the business for the present and the future. A strong component in doing this lies in encouraging and empowering everyone to be their own leader. This will provide your team with opportunities to grow their skillset which ultimately contributes to the overall business. On the other end of the spectrum, keep in mind that there may be systems or procedures in place but there’s always a way to make something more efficient and successful. When you are able to combine those current systems with new ideas, that is when you are really working on the business and growing it to its full potential.
Be present and make the most of every situation
Seeking greater clarity and knowledge helps understand the business in its entirety, internally and externally. Each conversation is important and can be utilized to learn more, help people grow or bud new ideas. One efficient way to work on this is to follow up with, “tell me more.” People usually know the answers so instead of telling them or giving commands, ask the right questions so they learn to arrive at the solutions themselves. This also can encourage people to become more involved in the overall business, and potentially help make or improve systems and processes. Lastly, resist the urge to derail the conversation and remain focused on the task at-hand. Keep the priority and end-goal in mind – if you aren’t clear on what that looks like, other people won’t be either.
Combining these four efforts can lead to greater success in a variety of industries. Find the right balance of growing a business while prioritizing the people who make up your team. Remember, positive environments fuel positive results.
Robin Robison is the Chief Operating Officer for Modern Market Eatery, the healthy fast casual restaurant operator and franchisor known for its farm-totable vibe. With experience in a variety of leadership roles in the restaurant industry from recruiting and training to development to restaurant support and operations, Robin believes in leading and developing people to achieve outstanding results.