Here’s How To Be A Much Better Leader

We certainly have some work to do when it comes to being motivational and inspirational leaders. Our teams are crying out for leadership, particularly the millennials that are making their way into the workforce. They want leaders they can learn from and look up to. Yet the statistics tell an entirely different story.

Here’s the stark reality. According to research in the US from McKinsey & Co, 70% of leaders rate themselves as inspiring and motivating, however, employees rate their leaders much lower than this. Another survey by Gallup found that 82% of employees see their leaders as fundamentally uninspiring. What a massive miss-match. And finally to continue the bad news a survey published by Forbes found that 65% of employees would forego a pay rise if it meant seeing their leader fired!

What is going on? Are we really that bad at leadership? It would seem so, we have much work to do. And here are some of the massive benefits of having better leadership. McKinsey & Co reported that when employees are intrinsically motivated they are 32% more committed, 46% more satisfied with their job and perform 16% better.

Of course, the obvious question is how. Here are four ideas that will help you to become that better leader:

  • Be more personal. This is putting yourself in the shoes of your employees and thinking more about how decisions will impact on them. Often this can be uncovered by simply spending time at the frontline, observing and talking to team members. Ask questions such as “What gets in the way of serving customers?” “What would help you to do your job better?” When we find out the blockages and work towards fixing them, it provides massive motivation and buy in. Leadership expert Simon Sinek says “Good leaders are curious to hear ideas from others when solving a problem. Bad leaders care more than others hear their ideas.”
  • Be self-aware. This starts with realising that you are in the 70% of leaders who rate themselves as inspiring and motivating! It’s very hard to work on others to help them improve if we are the ones that need it the most. Leadership guru, Peter Drucker said, “You cannot manage other people unless you manage yourself first.” This is about being honest and asking others for feedback on your leadership skills and being open to the feedback. Hiring a mentor or coach is another great way to work on yourself as they will see things that you won’t.
  • Be selfless. Leadership is not about you, but more about the people you lead. The success of your business is how well the leader can get all the different departments and team members working well together. At The Retail Solution, we believe that leadership is getting things done through others and you need your people more than they need you. In Jim Collins awesome book Good to Great, the most successful CEO’s were selfless – as Collins described their behaviour – “They look out the window to praise and in the mirror to criticise.” How many of us do that?
  • Be compassionate. One meaning is compassion is the intention to bring happiness to others. When people feel that their leader has their back and their interest at heart, they feel safe and trusted which builds loyalty and commitment (and therefore productivity). One way of improving your compassion is asking this simple question – “How can I help this person have a better day?”

As always, I would challenge all leaders to do some self-reflection, get feedback from their team and work on improving their skills in these four key areas.

And finally another great saying from Simon Sinek “The genius at the top doesn’t make the team look good. A good team makes the person at the top look like a genius.”

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” 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.