4 Ways to Foster Exceptional Leadership in the Face of Change Developing great leaders throughout an organization fosters a confident approach to each business challenge and the potential for unbridled success.
- When employees know what is expected of them, they can better handle change and focus on the tasks at hand.
- Company messaging should continually be reinforced during all company interactions.
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By all appearances, the current business environment may be considered one of the most challenging, as companies continue to face economic uncertainties, evolving workplace dynamics, a tight labor market and new employment regulations, especially testing the mettle of small and medium-sized businesses. While the impacts can be amplified in small and medium-sized businesses, savvy leadership can provide the stability necessary for employees and the company to address change head-on for unbridled success.
In most cases, a good leader is at the helm of many successful companies; however, exceptional leaders who cultivate great leaders at every level within an organization are well-positioned to not only embrace change but also take their companies to new levels with a team that emulates the characteristics of its leadership and results in outstanding achievements.
Below are four areas for companies to consider as they seek to create more stability in the workplace.
1. Practice a lockstep approach
One of the keys to stability in the workplace is practicing a lockstep approach to leadership — one in which everyone is on the same page and operating in the right direction — to implement change, surpass goals and experience long-term success. When leadership is in alignment and presents a united front, there is no question about the company's mission and values, future direction, processes/procedures and culture, leaving little room for deviating from a company's defined path.
As leaders practice a lockstep approach, they communicate clear messaging that resonates throughout a company, ensuring frontline employees receive the same message that originated at the top. When employees experience clear, consistent communication at all levels, this trickle-down effect promotes stability and increases employee morale, engagement and performance. When employees know what is expected of them and are provided with the proper tools to achieve their goals, they can better handle change and focus on the tasks at hand.
2. Assemble the right team
According to a familiar phrase, leaders are only as good as the team that supports them, so it behooves executives to assemble the right team of leaders and employees who exude similar characteristics and behaviors to propel a company forward. With the right team in place, companies are better able to stay the course and overcome obstacles, often coming out stronger on the other side.
Of course, stability is a valuable byproduct of an outstanding team. Having the right people in the right positions ensures top-notch capabilities that complement one another and enables a sense of camaraderie and dedication to a common purpose.
Whether through recruiting efforts or promoting from within, it is crucial to identify individuals with similar beliefs who fit the culture, can serve as role models and possess leadership qualities that direct and inspire employees. Exceptional leaders, in turn, will mentor team members and provide training to help them become the next generation of leaders. These mentees — typically the force behind frontline workers — reinforce company messaging and ensure consistent practices, furthering stability in the workforce.
3. Provide proper training
While successful companies provide employees at all levels with professional training and development opportunities, exceptional leaders take a proactive approach by ensuring employees are aware of the opportunities and helping them identify any gaps in their skill sets. With a tight labor market, now is the time to reskill or upskill employees to meet existing or future business needs, which provides an added layer of stability for employees and employers alike. Employees feel more confident in remaining with a company, and employers experience increased employee retention and performance.
In the face of change, reskilling employees plays a pivotal role, especially for frontline workers, as technology, processes and procedures continue to evolve in the workplace. Leaders should ensure any changes are properly communicated with frontline workers and that they are well-equipped to handle their roles so everyone is on the same page. Frontline workers typically have the greatest interaction with potential and existing customers; therefore, they must be in the loop and operate at peak performance as they represent a company.
4. Reinforce company messaging
Company messaging should continually be reinforced during all company interactions to further support stability and help ensure everyone is singing from the same song sheet. A company's mission, vision and values should be communicated and demonstrated daily during recruiting efforts, employee onboarding and training, team meetings, sales and marketing efforts and community involvement events and posted on a company's website and intranet.
When leaders make a habit of reinforcing company messaging through effective communications, it is natural for them to communicate change with their teams when it occurs, displaying a sense of confidence and leaving no one out of the loop to ensure a streamlined approach to change. Companies that present a consistent message — no matter the topic or audience — are increasing stability within a company and boosting a brand's reputation.
As businesses face continuous change, one of the leaders' greatest obligations to their workforce and company is providing stability. Employees look to leaders for reassurance, and customers align themselves with businesses that stay the course. With a lockstep approach, the right team, proper training and continuous reinforcement, leaders can provide the stability necessary for success during both good and challenging times.