Leading with compassion depends on leaders making a strong positive connection with those around them and using their emotional intelligence to tune into other people’s needs
As COVID restrictions have eased, many people have mixed feelings about how best to adapt to some sense of normality in the future. CEO and founder of Why Leadership, Graeme McKinnon, believes that coaching and leading with compassion is a key skill that those in leadership positions will need to develop over the months and years ahead.
Leading with compassion depends on leaders making a strong positive connection with those around them and using their emotional intelligence to tune into other people’s needs. He believes this is the type of leadership that will help franchisors and franchisees to develop enhanced levels of mutual trust, leading to improved relationships and performance across the business. Taking a holistic approach allows people to connect their purpose, passion, values and dreams, helping them to get the clarity they need to accelerate personal and organisational growth.
Having spent the last 16 years leading and growing three well-known franchise brands, Graeme understands first-hand how challenging it is to grow a successful franchise business. His experience to date includes the delivery of a successful five-year project, where he helped position Cash Generator, firstly for acquisition by a private equity firm and then onto a successful franchisee-led management buyout.
Graeme shares his top tips on how franchisors can create a revised strategy for growth, planning for a post-pandemic world, whilst still making sure that people’s own needs are managed in a compassionate and caring way.
• Extending the sense of support. Especially in today’s ever-changing world, many franchisees dedicate their lives to running their businesses in a way that has a negative impact on their personal lives. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to do everything in your power to help the people in your care to find the right balance between their work and personal lives. This may require new habits to be established, including putting new systems and procedures in place, which will probably require an investment of time and money.
• Establishing the plan. Revisiting your strategy for growth, whilst considering how your customers’ and team’s view of the world has changed, is essential if you want to optimise your chances of success for the future. This includes the logistics and the mindset challenges of how you should create new routines and workspaces that are designed to balance the evolving needs of the business with the equally important evolving needs of your team.
• When negativity strikes. There’s bound to be situations when people are facing challenges at work or in their personal lives. Coaching with compassion, in these situations, has the power to help individuals find the clarity they need, as well as empowering them to find the solutions required to return to peak performance. Setting time aside to factor these events into your plan is one of the inspiring traits of great leadership.
• Taking care of your own wellbeing. Don’t forget that to be the best leader you can be, you need to make sure that you are looking after your own wellbeing too. The metaphor of ‘putting on your own oxygen mask first before helping others’ is an essential element of being a great leader, so it’s important to take time out and recharge. This includes setting time aside in your schedule to breathe and step back from the day-to-day activities, so you have dedicated thinking time. Slowing down to speed up is another great leadership trait.
Taking time to reflect on the points listed above has the potential to lead to sustainable improvements, increasing feelings of wellbeing and reducing stress. From a leadership perspective, this will also provide you with an opportunity to invoke a psychological state that could lead to new possibilities and improved working relationships between you and your team.
Having conversations that connect purpose, passion and values for the franchisor, support teams and franchisees can accelerate personal and business growth. Connecting these things for both yourself, your team and the brand mission, ultimately help you to excel in both your professional and personal lives while delivering for your customers. Leading with compassion and encouraging these conversations will ensure you are best equipped to retain the best people to help you achieve your vision, whilst also meeting the demanding needs of the business world.
Graeme believes that it’s important to involve your team and franchisees within this process, remembering that every individual franchisee may require tailored support. Delivered effectively, leading with compassion can help teams, individuals and organisations to establish a clear sense of purpose (their WHY) and a caring supportive environment.
Graeme McKinnon, CEO and founder of Why Leadership, describes himself as a leader who is still on his own leadership journey, continually learning and developing. Ever since Graeme’s first career in nursing, he never lost sight of his own sense of purpose (his WHY). Graeme has developed his leadership style over the last 30 years from within the healthcare and franchise sectors, where he attributes his success to the people he has had the privilege to lead over that time.