Inspirational leadership is crucial for retailers to survive in today’s tough economy. The stores that do well invariably have an inspirational leader at the helm – they inspire their team to deliver great results week in and week out. Outstanding customer service comes from having great leaders.
So what is in the DNA of a great leader? The ability to reach people in a way that transcends the intellectual and rational is the mark of a great leader. They all have it. They inspire us. It’s a simple as that. And when we’re inspired we tap into our best selves and deliver amazing work.
So, can this ability to touch and inspire people be learned? No and yes. The truth is that not everyone can lead, and there is no substitute for natural talent.
Let’s Take A Look At Tools That Allow For Talent To Shine:
Emotional intelligence. Great leaders understand empathy, and have the ability to read people’s (sometimes unconscious, often unstated) needs and desires. This allows them to identify these needs and, when at all possible, to fulfill them. When people feel they are understood and being listened to, they usually respond and a bond is formed.
Continuous learning. Curiosity and an insatiable desire to always do better is the mark of a great leader. They are rarely satisfied with the status quo, and welcome new knowledge and fresh (even if challenging) input. It’s all about investing in themselves.
Responsiveness. Great leaders respond to each challenge with a fresh eye. They know that what worked in one situation may be useless in another. Before they act, they make sure they understand the specifics of the situation and tailor their actions accordingly.
Let Go. Too many people think leadership is about control. In fact, great leaders inspire and then get out of the way. They know that talented people don’t need or want hovering managers. Leadership is about influence, guidance, and support, not control. They always look for ways to delegate and then they get out of the way so that their people can get on with it.
Honesty. Not a week goes by that we don’t hear about a so-called leader losing credibility because he or she was dishonest. Often this is because of pressure to try and “measure up” and it’s not coming from a place of being real – often this relates to fear of not being accepted for your true self. We live in age of extraordinary transparency, which is reason enough to always be true to your core – your mission will be revealed, your motivations will show by your behaviors. But it goes way beyond this. It’s an issue that sets an example and elevates an organization. Great leaders have a reputation for honesty, and it is a lot easier to deliver bad news and face tough challenges.
Kindness and respect. Nice leaders (people) don’t finish last. They finish first again and again. Ignorance and arrogance are leadership killers. They’re also a mark of insecurity. Treating everyone with a basic level of respect is an absolute must trait of leadership. And kindness is the gift that keeps on giving back. Of course, there will be people who prove they don’t deserve respect and they must be dealt with. But that job will be made much easier, and will have far less impact on your organization, if you have a reputation for kindness, honesty and respect.
Collaboration. People’s jobs and careers are integral to their lives. The more your organization can make them a partner, the more they will deliver amazing results. This means, to the greatest extent possible, communicating your organization’s strategies, goals and challenges. This builds buy-in, and again is a mark of respect. People won’t be blindsided (which is a workplace culture killer) by setbacks if they’re in the loop.
Partner with your people. Great leaders find out what their employees’ career goals are and then do everything they can to help them reach them. Even if it means they will eventually leave the organization. You will gain happy, productive employees who will work with passion and commitment, and tout your company far and wide. This an opportunity to brand your greatness.
Leadership is both an art and a science. Everyone has to develop his or her own individual leadership style. Hopefully the above guidelines will help you to do this.
“Good leadership is always human. It takes time and energy. It is hard work. Which is why good leadership is so special when we find it.”
Simon Sinek Author and Motivational Speaker
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.