At Anthony Gregg we think one of the most foolish things a business leader can do is hire good people and fail to get the best out of them. But, all too often, people at the head of an organisation adopt an old school style of leadership that might feel right to them and may even look good from the outside, but it does not deliver good, sustainable performance across the organisation. 

Don’t be a seagull

Does this sound like you? Let’s assume there is a problem in your organisation. Things are going wrong and you are under pressure to fix them. So you take time out of your busy schedule to have a meeting with the problem staff. You rapidly assess the situation, make the necessary changes and swiftly move on.

Maybe this approach works? Maybe not? In fact, probably not. You may well have been acting like a seagull – swooping in, pooping (this is a more polite word than your team will use) all over the place then flying off and leaving other people to clear up the mess.

This approach may or may not deliver short-term results. Your peers may admire you, or they may not. Your staff may just do what you say – in which case why did you spend all those resources on hiring the best and developing them? Or they may just decide to move on.

Be a coach

The idea of a coach inspiring a team to greater things has long been recognised and admired in sport. Coaches demonstrate leadership by inspiring and enabling their sports teams. Business leaders should do be doing the same.

There have always been great business leaders who coach, but more formal ideas of coaching rather than managing came from the world of Agile Project Management, where managers became part of their workforce rather than in charge of it.

Their job is to set clear, time-bound targets for their staff and agree with them on how the targets are to be achieved. They meet regularly and discuss progress. The coach discovers early if progress is slowing and goes on to identify the problems. Then the coach works with them to anticipate the problems, look for solutions and the team or the coach goes out and gets rid of the obstacles to progress or finds ways around them.

Staff are happier and more collaborative and managers who coach effectively become true leaders. At Anthony Gregg we speak to a lot of senior managers and board members, and the most respected leaders are the ones who get the best out of their workforce. If you’d like to know more about building and leading a strong organisation, please give us a call at Anthony Gregg.

Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing by LyndaSanchez licensed under Creative commons 5