Effective leadership is vital to the success of any organisation – someone has to ensure the whole team is pulling in the same direction. Good communication, clear objectives and shared values can make all the difference.
In part two of this seven-part series, we’re looking closely at leadership. Just like any area of your business, you don’t have to do everything at once – you can work on it a piece at a time.
1. Communicate the mission, vision and values
There’s no point in having a company vision if your team doesn’t know what it is. Let employees know what the priorities are, what you are working toward and how things should be done.
If everyone is working with the same objectives in mind and to the same standards, you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
Mission, vision and values shouldn’t just be words on your website that nobody pays attention to. They should be evident in everything the business does and the way that everyone acts.
2. Lead by example
Leaders must lead by example. It’s no use having ‘integrity’ as one of your company values if you aren’t demonstrating integrity yourself. Don’t ask employees to ‘put customers first’ if you’re putting processes in place that do the opposite.
Actions speak louder than words. Don’t just tell colleagues they are valued – show them they are valued. Listen to them, understand their motivations and provide relevant support.
3. Establish a good company culture
Company culture isn’t something that can be changed overnight – it develops with time. But when you have a clear purpose and goals, clear values that underpin everything you do, and leaders who lead by example, you’re more likely to create a positive culture.
Encourage employees to speak up about what they like and don’t like, what works and doesn’t work. Make them feel respected and valued. Deal with toxic behaviour by getting to the root cause, not just treating the symptoms.
4. Encourage a commitment to quality
If you want to be a world-class business, then quality should be a priority. And it needs to be a priority for everyone.
But in order for employees to deliver quality, you need to have the right systems and processes in place. This includes how you measure their performance.
For example, if you set targets based on volume or speed alone, you risk the quality of your products being compromised. There’s no point increasing the number of products being manufactured if a higher percentage of them are sub-standard as a result. Instead of setting targets for increased production, set targets for reduced wastage.
5. Provide training and development opportunities
Invest in your people and provide training and development opportunities. If you don’t help your employees reach their full potential, they’ll eventually move on to companies that will.
Regularly review the skills and competencies within your teams and look at where there are gaps. Encourage employees to share skills and knowledge.
Create opportunities for employees to upskill or learn new skills. Think about what skills will be needed in your business in the future and start developing those skills now.
6. Recognise and reward positive behaviours
People want to feel valued, and a big part of that is having their hard work acknowledged.
Recognise and reward positive behaviour. This doesn’t have to involve big gestures or flashy recognitions schemes. It can be as simple as verbally thanking someone for their help on a project or congratulating them publicly on gaining a new qualification or achieving a milestone.
Encourage employees to recognise the positive efforts and successes of their colleagues.
7. Encourage employees to look for improvement opportunities
Continuous improvement should be part of your company culture, so encourage colleagues to look for and suggest improvement opportunities.
Be open to feedback on your management and leadership style. What works for one person won’t work for another, and there’s always room for improvement. Ask your team members how you can better support them.
And listen to your team. Listen to their ideas and feedback. Even if some ideas are obscure and unrealistic, there may be something that can be built on. Don’t discount an opinion or suggestion too quickly.
How ISO 9001 frameworks can improve leadership
Not all businesses need or want ISO certification. But you don’t have to be ISO certified to benefit from ISO methodology.
ISO 9001 is focused on quality management systems, and when implemented and utilised correctly, the framework enables the leadership team to:
- Identify areas for training and development
- Ensure consistent standards
- Measure and evaluate KPIs more effectively
- Increase employee engagement
- Spot errors, risk and opportunities for improvement
Whether you decide to gain ISO certification or not is irrelevant. The important part is getting the systems in place that help you achieve the above.
If you’d like to find out more about how implementing ISO methodology can help you build a world-class business, with or without the certification, then get in touch.